adverb or adjective
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 observerthe sun went behind a cloud
c : following in order marched behind the band
2 used as a function word to indicate backwardness, delay, or deficiencybehind 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 expressionsget your behind over here

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for behind

Synonyms: Adverb or adjective

Synonyms: Preposition

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Adverb or adjective

Antonyms: Preposition

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb or adjective In one incident, as diners got up to leave their table behind, someone tipped it over. Haley Victory Smith, Washington Examiner, "Protests over the death of Daniel Prude in Rochester, New York, get violent," 5 Sep. 2020 This is the theme of their new life, in Louisa’s opinion: that Louisa and her father are two fish who should leave her beached mother behind. Susan Choi, The New Yorker, "Flashlight," 31 Aug. 2020 These comfy and innovative canine garments are designed to pick up the hair pets leave behind in cars. Kelli Bender,, "Anthony Anderson Will Spend National Dog Day Spoiling His Senior Dog with Car Rides and Cake," 25 Aug. 2020 Crews will leave concrete barriers behind to protect the businesses that choose to continue using parking spaces while the street opens to vehicles. Ethan May, The Indianapolis Star, "Broad Ripple Avenue and Mass Ave. set to reopen to vehicles," 25 Aug. 2020 While searching for a pair of puppies reported on the side of the highway, Northshore Humane Society volunteers stumbled upon Ham and absolutely could not leave this sweet boy behind., "Ham needs a home," 23 Aug. 2020 The women who once fought on opposing sides now identify themselves as members of South Sudan's unified force, an effort to leave their past behind. Maura Ajak, Star Tribune, "Hunger, squalor mar South Sudan post-war unification efforts," 16 Aug. 2020 Employees have been banned from working overtime and instructed to leave mail behind if it is processed late, and the amount of equipment available for processing mail has been reduced. Julie Zauzmer, Washington Post, "Amid national Postal Service crisis, D.C. area residents struggle without consistent mail," 15 Aug. 2020 Shave off the flavorful, juicy corn kernel tops and leave the fibrous root behind. Alex Beggs, Bon Appétit, "If You Aren’t Milking Your Corn, Is It Really Summer?," 12 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition Mayor Regina Romero, a Democrat who made climate resilience a central theme of her campaign last year, has been behind efforts to step up water conservation, tree planting and expanding clean energy. Judy Fahys, The Arizona Republic, "Climate issues confront Arizona, but aren't always raised in McSally-Kelly Senate race," 20 Sep. 2020 Both teams were a game behind St. Louis in the National League Central. John Fay, The Enquirer, "Sonny Gray could return to rotation for Cincinnati Reds as soon as Tuesday," 20 Sep. 2020 No group claimed responsibility for the killings, but Afghan officials believe armed groups linked to the Taliban are behind a string of similar attacks. Washington Post, "Deadly airstrike in Afghanistan kills at least 10 civilians, 30 Taliban fighters despite ongoing peace talks," 20 Sep. 2020 From Olympic medalists, to Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks and local radio voices — the D-FW area appears fully behind the Dallas Stars in their run to the Stanley Cup Final. Dallas News, "‘Go get that Cup’: Dallas-area athletes and local sports legends sent their best wishes to the Dallas Stars," 20 Sep. 2020 No arrests have been made as of Sunday, and no motive behind the shooting was released. Danielle Wallace, Fox News, "Gunman opens fire inside Pennsylvania mall, no injuries reported," 20 Sep. 2020 In a public opinion poll of 25 industries, Americans ranked the pharmaceutical industry dead last — right behind the federal government. San Diego Union-Tribune, "With November election looming, San Diego’s biotech community eyes policy issues," 20 Sep. 2020 Some youth got behind calls to dismantle the department. Mohamed Ibrahim, Star Tribune, "New Minneapolis council member gives voice to diverse ward," 20 Sep. 2020 Ant Group, the company behind Alipay, is now headed for perhaps the biggest initial public offering of 2020. Will Knight, Wired, "As Trump Squeezes China, Alipay’s Star Rises," 20 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Agee finished with six catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns in the Wolves’ come-from-behind win over W.S. Neal. Ben Thomas |, al, "Log your vote for the top Coastal Alabama football player for Week 3 of the season," 6 Sep. 2020 Get nearly 20% off this 40-volt, lithium-ion, cordless walk-behind number that’s self-propelled and features a 6.0Ah battery and charger. Lesley Kennedy, CNN Underscored, "Shop Labor Day deals at The Home Depot for patio, kitchen, storage and more," 4 Sep. 2020 Pete Alonso hit a two-run homer leading off the 10th inning Thursday night, lifting the New York Mets to a come-from-behind, 9-7 win over the Yankees in the final Subway Series game of the season between the teams. Jerry Beach, Star Tribune, "Alonso HR in 10th lifts Mets over Yanks after Seaver tribute," 3 Sep. 2020 His father, Jean Odney Alexander, went to northwest Okeechobee County with another man on Monday to pick palmetto berries somewhere on the prairie when the other man left the 65-year-old behind, according to the sheriff’s office. Paulina Dedaj, Fox News, "Bengals' Mackensie Alexander arrested over incident involving man who last saw missing father: report," 26 Aug. 2020 They're meant as stay-behind to conduct operations in case of those intelligence officers operating under diplomatic cover being declared persona non grata. CBS News, "Former CIA senior Clandestine Services Officer Daniel Hoffman on pursuing the "Russian ten"," 26 Aug. 2020 The case is shedding light on the behind-scenes medical malpractice world, where hospitals and doctors quietly settle an unknown number of cases. Meredith Cohn,, "Lawyer Stephen Snyder defends himself against accusations he sought money for secrecy in a medical malpractice case," 25 Aug. 2020 San Diego hasn't had a come-from-behind win this season, but every match in which it's scored first, it's won. Briar Napier, The Arizona Republic, "Group B supremacy on the line as Phoenix Rising FC takes on San Diego Loyal," 16 Aug. 2020 As a freshman, Hayes led the Bulldogs to a come-from-behind win over Mobile Christian in the 3A title game a year ago. Ben Thomas |, al, "Class 3A Preview: 2 defending state champions, 1 title at stake," 14 Aug. 2020

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

Time Traveler for behind

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for behind

Last Updated

22 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Behind.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for behind


How to pronounce behind (audio)

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)


How to pronounce behind (audio)

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

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!