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 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

Synonyms: Preposition

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Adverb or adjective

Antonyms: Preposition

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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 Coloradans fear what the visitors may leave behind. Dallas News, "COVID ‘cowboys’ round up spring break scofflaws in Durango," 1 Apr. 2021 Coloradans fear what the visitors may leave behind. The Salt Lake Tribune, "This tourist town has come up with a creative way to marshal compliance with a COVID-19 mask mandate," 31 Mar. 2021 President Joe Biden faces an uphill battle to convince people in fossil fuel-dependent regions that his infrastructure and clean energy investment plan won't leave coal, oil, and gas workers behind. Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner, "Biden green infrastructure obstacle: Skepticism and 'resentment' in coal country," 31 Mar. 2021 Eastern Time, the diamond was empty, Jimmy Buffett was playing on the ballpark sound system, George Toma was dragging the infield, and the Twins were ready to leave their strangest spring behind. Star Tribune, "Twins build spring camaraderie, despite the masks and social distancing," 30 Mar. 2021 Montgomery said the racial reckoning unfolding in the country prodded her to leave her career behind and become a part of the action on the ground. Marlene Lenthang, ABC News, "WNBA star Renee Montgomery opens up about battles off the court for racial equality," 29 Mar. 2021 Burnout eventually led her to leave that world behind. Betsy Cribb, Southern Living, "Ice Cream That Looks Like Fried Chicken Is The Deliciously Deceiving Dessert We’re Craving This Summer," 26 Mar. 2021 In the long run, Apple and its tech industry peers atop the list of the world’s most profitable firms will leave Aramco far behind as the economy adapts to greener energy sources. Nicolás Rivero, Quartz, "Saudi Aramco has lost the title of world’s most profitable company," 21 Mar. 2021 How in the world could anyone be so stupid as to leave a gun behind? Steve Meyer, Anchorage Daily News, "Leaving your gun on the toilet and other misadventures in hunting and shooting," 20 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition Over the last year, that has included living through a pandemic while behind bars. New York Times, "When the Pandemic Came to Sullivan Prison," 6 Apr. 2021 The class also includes Elijah Canion who, in just two games, moved into fifth for most receiving yards with 84 yards, just four behind Jackson. Giana Han, al, "Young Auburn wide receivers need ‘every little thing right’ for success this season," 6 Apr. 2021 The project says that dying young has been dangerously romanticized and often ignores the mental health and addiction issues behind such deaths. Eamonn Forde, Forbes, "Near-Vana: A “New” Kurt Cobain Track Appears Courtesy Of Artificial Intelligence," 6 Apr. 2021 But for Christians like Yoo, now the pastor of Christ Community Church in Ashton, Md., the meanings behind the spa killings are deeper and more troubling than Long’s comments to police about his sins. Jaweed Kaleem, Los Angeles Times, "Asian American Christians confront racism and evangelical ‘purity culture’ after Atlanta spa shootings," 6 Apr. 2021 Segreti while anchor our outfield in center while Heymann will handle duties behind the plate. Randy Mcroberts,, "Harford high school baseball teams ready to play 2021 season," 6 Apr. 2021 After 50 miles or so, defenses melted, and conversation could expand to include topics that usually hide in wait behind the small talk. Washington Post, "How communicating, connecting with your kids could help them avoid addiction," 6 Apr. 2021 Eighteen years later, Drew found himself behind a different mic. Eddie Pells, Star Tribune, "Baylor beatdown: Bears win title, hang 86-70 loss on Gonzaga," 6 Apr. 2021 The small-satellite industry has also caught the attention of the Pentagon and intelligence agencies, which would love to have swarms of small satellites, able to be launched quickly and easily replaced, peering down behind enemy lines., "Circling the planet, satellites no bigger than bread loaves offer an explosion of data and imagery," 6 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Dani Olmo came off the bench to snatch a come-from-behind win for Spain, his long-range shot getting palmed into the top corner of the net by flailing Georgia goalkeeper Giorgi Loria. Steve Douglas, ajc, "Europe top teams win WCup qualifiers as Swiss move goalposts," 28 Mar. 2021 DeAyjah posted 14 points and 16 rebounds in a come-from-behind win Saturday, March 13, to defeat Burgin High School. Melanie Laughman, The Enquirer, "Enquirer names Greater Cincinnati high school athletes of the week, March 19," 20 Mar. 2021 In particular, the brand has some great electric lawn mowers, including this popular walk-behind model. Camryn Rabideau, USA TODAY, "16 things to get your lawn and garden in shape this spring," 25 Mar. 2021 Through a come-from-behind win over Auburn and a last-second victory against Florida, the 2020 Aggies displayed a grind and a fight that had been missing for a while. Hannah Underwood, Dallas News, "Texas A&M offseason issue: Can history repeat itself for Jimbo Fisher?," 16 Mar. 2021 Service won the second half in a come-from-behind win over Eagle River. Anchorage Daily News, "Chugiak Mustangs boys basketball team puts up a Wall against previously unbeaten Dimond Lynx," 21 Feb. 2021 And when Joel Beltran caught a screen pass from Zander Garner and weaved through traffic for a 36-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, Franklin owned a season-opening 13-9 come-from-behind win. oregonlive, "A year after coronavirus shut down sports, a look at lost dreams, a new normal, and hope amid uncertainty," 11 Mar. 2021 Of course, a zombie apocalypse could result in many tongues being in people’s cheeks, whether those cheeks are in the face or the behind. Bruce Y. Lee, Forbes, "A Zombie Apocalypse Prediction For 2021? CDC Has A Preparedness Guide," 4 Mar. 2021 But even with his come-from-far-behind style, Rombauer appeared to be up against it for much of the 1 ⅛-mile race. Larry Stumes, San Francisco Chronicle, "Rombauer wins El Camino Real Derby, gains Derby cred," 13 Feb. 2021

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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Time Traveler for behind

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for behind

Last Updated

8 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Behind.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Apr. 2021.

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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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Comments on behind

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