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

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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


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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

The Cardinals will be behind a lot, leading to plenty of passes from Murray. oregonlive, "Fantasy Football 2019: Marcus Mariota among 10 sleepers at quarterback," 1 Sep. 2019 Scores of people are leaving the New York City area behind daily. Alex Tanzi,, "More people are leaving New York City daily than any other US city," 29 Aug. 2019 Colon did not leave behind a note or any evidence that indicated a motive. Brooke Baitinger,, "3-year-old twin only survivor in family massacre, police say," 26 Aug. 2019 If anything, her clarity will come in taking the empowerment of the new direction in her life journey and taking it even more fresh directions, like leaving other dead weight behind. Author: Wayne And Wanda, Anchorage Daily News, "Her divorce isn’t even final, but my friend is already jumping into online dating," 24 Aug. 2019 As sirens approach in the distance, Tyler and Tony drive away, leaving Clay behind to try and clean up what's just happened. Rachel Paige,, "Tyler's 13 Reasons Why Season 2 Struggle Isn't Going To Just Go Away In Season 3," 24 Aug. 2019 The immigration officers shackled her and took her away, leaving her daughter behind., "‘America is Better Than This,’ Jeff Merkley insists in Donald Trump critique. Not so fast, senator," 15 Aug. 2019 However, that joy was short-lived as Rue backed out of their plan to head out by themselves into the big city, and Jules leaves her behind. Rachel Yang,, "Euphoria season finale ends on emotional cliffhanger featuring new song by Zendaya and Labrinth," 5 Aug. 2019 That causes your skin cells to shed more quickly, preventing them from clogging up your pores and leaving behind smoother skin. Sara Coughlin, SELF, "How to Treat Closed Comedones, the Acne You Didn’t Know You Had," 1 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Garner, who was 43, died on a Staten Island sidewalk July 17, 2014, after Pantaleo wrapped an arm around his neck from behind and took him to the ground and other officers put their weight on him, compressing his chest against the pavement. Katie Benner,, "Eric Garner’s death will not lead to federal charges for NYPD officer," 16 July 2019 The victim was walking to school with a classmate on the 700 block of Palm Avenue just before 8 a.m. when the suspect allegedly grabbed her from behind and put a hand over her mouth, said South San Francisco police Capt. Jason Green, The Mercury News, "South San Francisco: Man arrested in kidnapping attempt," 15 Aug. 2019 Her behind is frequently aimed in the direction of my house and yard. Abigail Van Buren, Twin Cities, "Dear Abby: Girlfriend loses self-esteem when addict betrays her trust," 14 Aug. 2019 Her behind is frequently aimed in the direction of my house and yard. Dear Abby,, "Dear Abby: Suspicions about boyfriend were true. Can trust be rebuilt?," 14 Aug. 2019 One of the unidentified suspects, in all black clothing, approached the couple from behind, brandished a gun and demanded Murphy’s wife to hand over her purse, the charging documents said. Jessica Anderson,, "Teen charged in robbery of Baltimore deputy commissioner was on GPS monitoring, court records show," 2 Aug. 2019 The Indianapolis Indians scored a pair of runs in the top of the ninth to come from behind and beat Syracuse 6-5 Tuesday night. Jenny Green, Indianapolis Star, "Indians rally late to beat Syracuse," 23 July 2019 The only one who’s going to get rich is the person whose name is on your behind. Michelle Singletary, Washington Post, "It’s hard to resist buying Gloria Vanderbilt jeans — even for low-income earners," 18 June 2019 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

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

5 Sep 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



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!

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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 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).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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