be·​hind | \ bi-ˈhīnd How to pronounce behind (audio) , 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

behind

preposition

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

behind

noun
be·​hind | \ ˈbē-ˌhīnd How to pronounce behind (audio) ; 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

abaft, back of

Synonyms: Noun

backside, booty (also bootie) [slang], bottom, breech, bum, buns, butt, buttocks, caboose, can, cheeks, derriere (or derrière), duff, fanny, fundament, hams, haunches, heinie [slang], hunkers, keister (also keester) [slang], nates, posterior, rear, rear end, rump, seat, tail, tail end, tush [slang]

Antonyms: Adverb or adjective

early, inopportune, precocious, premature, unseasonable, untimely

Antonyms: Preposition

before

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Examples of behind in a Sentence

Preposition

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.

Noun

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

The technique that Winters stands behind, and the rest of the Sherwin-Williams team, is painting in 4 ft by 4 ft sections. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "Everything You've Ever Needed to Know About Painting Your Ceilings," 15 Mar. 2019 Sure, the faces barely move still, and the lip-sync is messy, but the characters look slightly less dead-behind-the-eyes. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "This week in games: Borderlands 3 teased for PAX East, Dwarf Fortress is coming to Steam," 15 Mar. 2019 Orbital payload missions are targeted for 2021; tourist launches at least a few years behind. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "The Tourist's Guide to Space," 12 Mar. 2019 To find out who's behind all of the remaining masks, tune in to the two-hour finale of The Masked Singer at 8 p.m. EST on FOX. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "This 'Masked Singer' Clue From a 2017 Interview Just Proved Donny Osmond is the Peacock," 27 Feb. 2019 His base is France’s meritocratic elite, the people who have benefited from the same global trends that have left most of the country behind. Pascal-emmanuel Gobry, WSJ, "The Failure of the French Elite," 22 Feb. 2019 Americans aren’t far behind in seeking solace and some sort of cosmic wellness in New Zealand—not to mention a safe place to park their dollars. Klara Glowczewska, Town & Country, "We Should All Just Move to New Zealand," 17 Jan. 2019 While the rich are getting better at adopting the lifestyle behaviors that lower their cancer risk, the poor lag behind. Julia Belluz, Vox, "We’re making real progress against cancer. But you may not know it if you’re poor.," 8 Jan. 2019 Details from the city bids that have emerged—many remain undisclosed, and/or locked behind NDAs—suggest billion-dollar packages are commonplace in the corporate incentive game. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Amazon HQ2 bids: The weird ways cities wanted to woo Bezos," 27 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Entertainment Tonight posted an Instagram story video of the couple during their red carpet interview, and fans pointed out Biel holding onto her hubby's behind during the Q&A. Isabel Greenberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "All of Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake's Adorable PDA Moments From the Emmys," 18 Sep. 2018 The photo, taken from behind, shows Nathan sitting next to Justin in NYC's Barclays Center, both wearing baseball caps over their matching shoulder-length blond 'dos. Andrea Park, Teen Vogue, "Hailey Baldwin Posts Flirty Instagram Comment About Justin Bieber," 6 Aug. 2018 Avid anglers move around, drill multiple holes in the ice with lightweight augers, and use pull-behind shacks. Brendan Leonard, Outside Online, "20 Things That Take Longer Than the Nose Ascent," 18 June 2018 Just as one girl stood up to share some of her thoughts, Michelle crept through the door and hugged her from behind — and the room erupted into tears and squeals of disbelief. Heather Finn, Good Housekeeping, "Watch Michelle Obama and Oprah Surprise a Group of Unsuspecting High School Girls," 13 Nov. 2018 In a rare moment of behind-the-scenes access, two Times journalists were permitted to sit in on a policy meeting whose attendees included Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey as well as the site’s safety team. Aja Romano, Vox, "Twitter is planning to draft a policy on “dehumanizing speech”," 11 Aug. 2018 Those shopping bags on the floor, sent by the German artist Maria Eichhorn, are filled with empty tea boxes, plastic water bottles, and chewing gum wrappers discarded by people installing the show, a kind of behind-the-scenes gallery diary. Joseph Giovannini, New York Times, "Swiss Institute Has a New Home Ready-Made for Art," 28 June 2018 Coming back from behind isn’t unheard of in hedge-fund land. Gregory Zuckerman, WSJ, "Oil Hedge Fund Giant Hammered in Crude’s Slide," 15 Nov. 2018 Shortly after Kim arrived at the airport, Huong was seen approaching him, clasping her hands on his face from behind and then fleeing. Fox News, "Key ruling looms for women on trial for Kim Jong Nam murder," 15 Aug. 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

Preposition

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

Noun

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

Preposition

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

Noun

noun derivative of behind entry 1

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Statistics for behind

Last Updated

21 Mar 2019

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

behind

adverb

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

behind

preposition

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)

behind

noun

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

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

behind

adverb
be·​hind | \ bi-ˈhīnd How to pronounce behind (audio) \

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

behind

preposition

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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More from Merriam-Webster on behind

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with behind

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for behind

Spanish Central: Translation of behind

Nglish: Translation of behind for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of behind for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about behind

Comments on behind

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