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



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 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

Keep scrolling for more

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


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb or adjective

Several decades into the age of digital media, the ability to leave one’s childhood and adolescent years behind is now imperiled. Kate Eichhorn, WIRED, "Social Media Could Make It Impossible to Grow Up," 8 July 2019 Authorities said the driver of the Solara fled after the crash, leaving the vehicle behind. Julia Sclafani,, "Man pleads not guilty to felony charge in H.B. fatal hit-and-run crash," 5 July 2019 From the fantastical hair and makeup to candid model moments, scroll through all of the behind-the-scenes magic, below, and check back for his daily updates. Corey Tenold, Vogue, "Corey Tenold’s Best Backstage Photos From the Fall 2019 Couture Shows in Paris," 3 July 2019 One year later, the co-workers who were left behind — especially those who were in the office, for whom images of the shooter and the ensuing carnage are seared forever into their psyches — wrestle with the tragedy. Chris Kaltenbach,, "Taking back control: A year later, Capital Gazette shooting survivors putting their lives, hearts back together," 28 June 2019 The 30-year-old Escobar is posting a solid first half with second-most home runs (18) behind Marte on the team. Dana Scott, azcentral, "What to watch in sports this weekend," 28 June 2019 How did a Power 5 program with money to spare get this far behind? Amie Just,, "The Les Miles Show brings signs of life, hope to Kansas football program," 28 June 2019 But Toy Story 2 takes place at a time in Andy’s life when Woody really could choose himself and leave the kid behind. Emily Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "Toy Story 2 is the best Toy Story," 21 June 2019 There's only one season standing between us and Jessica slinking off into New York and leaving us behind forever. Elena Nicolaou,, "Meet Jessica Jones' New Assistant — You're Going To Like Her," 15 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

His alleged accomplices — two boys, ages 16 and 17 — scanned the parking lot as Renfro came up to the woman from behind and yanked her purse from her hands with enough force that caused her to spin halfway around in a circle, the complaint said. Nick Ferraro, Twin Cities, "West St. Paul shooting leaves 21-year-old man dead, family members say," 10 July 2019 Upon arrival at approximately 2000 hours, Officers made contact with the victim who stated the suspect’s vehicle struck his from behind and then drove around the victim, attempting to flee before breaking down on the off-ramp to IH69 North. Houston Chronicle, "Bellaire Police Department weekly report," 8 July 2019 Meanwhile, Nigeria booked their place in the next round after coming from behind to beat Cameroon 3-2 thanks to Odion Ighalo's double., "Africa Cup of Nations Roundup: South Africa Stun Hosts Egypt & Nigeria See Off Holders Cameroon," 7 July 2019 Another long cross from the right toward Morgan results in a collision, and Bronze runs the striker from behind. Andrew Keh, New York Times, "How the U.S. Beat England to Reach the World Cup Final," 2 July 2019 That game was emblematic of a season in which Cummings’ squad time and again found ways to win late in games, coming from behind to beat Archbishop Spalding, St. Paul’s (twice), and fellow national powers Manhasset (N.Y.) and Bishop Ireton (Va.). Rich Scherr,, "2019 All-Metro girls lacrosse Co-Coaches of the Year: Taylor Cummings, McDonogh and Brigid Scanlon, South Carroll," 20 June 2019 In surveillance video, a motorcyclist can be seen approaching the group from behind, and shooting Ortiz in the back, CBS News correspondent David Begnaud reports. CBS News, "Video shows Red Sox legend David Ortiz being ambushed and shot in Dominican Republic club," 10 June 2019 The woman was walking on the shoulder of Washington Street when she was hit from behind. Breanne Kovatch,, "Duxbury police looking for information for Sunday hit-and-run," 10 June 2019 Come breeding season, a female toad will solicit the services of a male, who mounts her from behind, gripping her torso with his front legs while angling his rear toes to stimulate her genitals. Natalie Angier, The New York Review of Books, "Serengeti on the Seine," 9 May 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about behind

Statistics for behind

Last Updated

11 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for behind

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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)

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


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



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!

Keep scrolling for more

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 Encyclopedia article about behind

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).


having no luck

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!