be·hind | \ bi-ˈhīnd , bē- \

Definition of behind 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1a : in the place or situation that is being or has been departed from stay behind

b : in, to, or toward the back look behind came from behind

c : later in time can spring be far behind

2a : in a secondary or inferior position

b : in arrears behind in the rent

c : slow

3 archaic : still to come



Definition of behind (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : in or to a place or situation in back of or to the rear of look behind you put behind bars

b used as a function word to indicate something that screens an observer the sun went behind a cloud

c : following in order marched behind the band

2 used as a function word to indicate backwardness, delay, or deficiency behind the timesbehind schedulelagged behind last year's sales

3a : in the background of the conditions behind the strike

b : out of the mind or consideration of put our troubles behind us

c : beyond in depth or time the story behind the story go back behind St. Augustine

4a : in support of : on the side of solidly behind the candidate

b : with the support of won 1–0 behind brilliant pitching


be·hind | \ ˈbē-ˌhīnd ; bi-ˈhīnd , bē- \

Definition of behind (Entry 3 of 3)

: buttocks often used as a euphemism for ass in idiomatic expressions get your behind over here

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Synonyms & Antonyms for behind

Synonyms: Adverb or adjective

behindhand, belated, delinquent, late, latish, overdue, tardy

Synonyms: Preposition

after, below, following, next to, past

Synonyms: Noun

backside, bottom, breech, bum, buns, butt, buttocks, can, cheeks, derriere (or derrière), duff, fanny, hams, haunches, hunkers, posterior, rear, rear end, rump, seat, tail, tail end

Antonyms: Adverb or adjective

early, inopportune, precocious, premature, unseasonable, untimely

Antonyms: Preposition

ahead of, before, ere, of, previous to, prior to, to

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Examples of behind in a Sentence


The older students entered the room first with the younger students following behind them. The cat hid behind the couch. The sun went behind a cloud. They were ahead of us by 5 points earlier in the game, but now they're behind us by 7. The polls show that he is behind the other candidates. The company is now behind the competition. He was behind the other students in his studies.


kicked him in the behind
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb or adjective

There are no more excuses for Mr. Jones to hide behind. Elizabeth Williamson, New York Times, "Lawyers for Neo-Nazi to Defend Alex Jones in Sandy Hook Case," 2 July 2018 The affidavit says Poindexter tried to hide behind vehicles as the gunmen closed in. Peter Hermann, Washington Post, "D.C. police arrest man in killing of amateur boxer in Southeast Washington," 28 June 2018 The French-German plan to overhaul the euro zone received its first objection Wednesday from Poland -- one of the countries most concerned it will get left behind. Wojciech Moskwa,, "Poland Raises Early Objection to Merkel-Macron Euro Plan," 21 June 2018 Thidapa Suwannapura was one shot back and defending champion I.K. Kim was three strokes behind., "Robert Rock takes two-shot lead at Scottish Open," 14 July 2018 Brown and yellow was the favorite with blue and white close behind. Kevin Acee,, "Padres find they can't turn all blue eyes brown, but ...," 14 July 2018 The camera angles weren’t great, either, with a side or behind-the-plate view of players swinging. Chris Boghossian,, "Chicago ties run deep in original 'Home Run Derby,' a short-lived TV show at (the other) Wrigley Field," 13 July 2018 The original plan had called for two divers — one in front of the stretcher, one behind. Shibani Mahtani, Washington Post, "‘Time is running out’: Inside the treacherous rescue of boys trapped in a Thai cave," 13 July 2018 The young man remained behind bars as of Wednesday, the Booneville Democrat reported. Crystal Hill, miamiherald, "Dad smothered screaming infant daughter — then tried to shock her back to life, Ark. police say," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

And in Group G, Belgium beat England 1-0 to win the group and advance to the tougher side of the knockout bracket, while Tunisia exited on a high note, coming from behind to beat Panama 2-1. Grant Wahl,, "World Cup Group Stage Ends With All Eyes on Fair Play, Unusual Battle for First," 28 June 2018 Besides being an incredibly talented rapper, Iggy Azalea often makes headlines for her insane behind. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, "Iggy Azalea & Tyga's 'Kream' Video Has a Lot of Cash & a Lot of Booty: Watch," 6 July 2018 As a lieutenant in the Battle of Bladensburg, Key and his men, got their behinds whooped on the battlefield by the Colonial Marines—runaway American slaves, who fought as sailors and soldiers for the British in return for their freedom. Felice León, The Root, "The National Anthem Is Racist, and We Made a Video in Case You Forgot," 4 July 2018 There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes in making a smooth show and not having us step on each other’s toes. Sam Donnellon,, "A.J. Mleczko, NHL broadcasting pioneer, leaves chauvinists little to complain about," 8 May 2018 While most fire scenes in TV shows and films typically involve a lot of behind-the-scenes computer effects, the Game of Thrones showrunners love real flames just as much as the Mother of Dragons herself. Chanel Vargas, Harper's BAZAAR, "Is Jaime Lannister Dead After that Game of Thrones Battle?," 7 Aug. 2017 His pace scared the life out of Dejan Lovren and Domagoj Vida, and England regularly sought out the ball in behind for Sterling to chase as the game wore on., "Croatia 2-1 England (AET): Three Lions' Hearts Broken as Mandzukic Scores Extra Time Winner," 11 July 2018 According to police, shortly before 10 p.m. Tuesday, a man in his 20s on the southbound platform of the City Hall SEPTA station approached the teenager from behind. Diane Mastrull,, "Man charged in sexual assault at City Hall SEPTA station," 7 July 2018 The Cubs came-from-behind to win the game with five unanswered runs. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers can't hold on, lose to Chicago Cubs 5-3," 3 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'behind.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of behind

Adverb or adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


circa 1830, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for behind

Adverb or adjective

Middle English behinde, from Old English behindan, from be- + hindan from behind; akin to Old English hinder behind — more at hind


Middle English behinde, behinden, from behinde, behinden, behind entry 1


noun derivative of behind entry 1

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Statistics for behind

Last Updated

19 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for behind

The first known use of behind was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for behind



English Language Learners Definition of behind

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: in or toward the back

: in the place that someone is going away from

: later in time



English Language Learners Definition of behind (Entry 2 of 3)

: in or to a place at the back of or to the rear of (someone or something)

: losing to (someone or something) in a race or competition

: in a less advanced position than (someone or something) : not happening or proceeding as quickly as (someone or something)



English Language Learners Definition of behind (Entry 3 of 3)

: the part of the body above the legs that is used for sitting


be·hind | \ bi-ˈhīnd \

Kids Definition of behind

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : in a place that is being or has been left You can leave your books behind.

2 : in, to, or toward the back look behind fall behind

3 : not up to the general level behind in math

4 : not keeping up to a schedule behind in his payments



Kids Definition of behind (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : at or to the back of behind the door

2 : not up to the level of Sales are behind those of last year.

3 : out of the thoughts of Let's put our troubles behind us.

4 : responsible for Who's behind these pranks?

5 : in support of We're behind you all the way!

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Comments on behind

What made you want to look up behind? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an open space surrounded by woods

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