be·​half | \ bi-ˈhaf How to pronounce behalf (audio) , -ˈhäf, bē- \

Definition of behalf

: interest, benefit also : support, defense argued in his behalf
on behalf of or in behalf of
: in the interest of also : as a representative of I wrote the letter on behalf of my client.

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On Behalf of vs. in Behalf of: Usage Guide

A body of opinion favors in with the "interest, benefit" sense of behalf and on with the "support, defense" sense. This distinction has been observed by some writers but overall has never had a sound basis in actual usage. In current British use, on behalf (of) has replaced in behalf (of); both are still used in American English, but the distinction is frequently not observed.

Examples of behalf in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web American consumers will drop $1,047.83 on average on gifts, food, cards and other items this holiday season, according to a survey performed by Prosper Insights & Analytics on behalf of trade association the National Retail Federation. Joe Rubino, The Denver Post, "“Black Friday” now a two-month long discount season, but Denver small retailers are still banking on big traffic," 27 Nov. 2019 Bilott, whose story was chronicled in an engrossing and detailed 2016 New York Times story by Nathaniel Rich, goes from a 1999 lawsuit on behalf of Tennant to a 2001 class action involving several West Virginia communities. Jake Coyle, Detroit Free Press, "Cancer-causing chemicals at heart of ‘Dark Waters’," 26 Nov. 2019 In 2016, the Trump campaign dispatched Ivanka Trump, the candidate’s oldest daughter and a convert to Judaism, to appear on her father’s behalf at a synagogue in Surfside. Anthony Man,, "Jewish Democrats label Donald Trump ‘the biggest threat to the security of American Jews today’," 20 Nov. 2019 In this version of the story, Mr Trump would be the naïve, trusting president on whose behalf—but without whose consent—subordinates cooked up morally dubious plans. The Economist, "The Ukraine affair The new politics of Donald Trump’s impeachment," 10 Nov. 2019 From that vantage point, the trio of royal women watched as several wreaths were laid at the Cenotaph, including one by Prince Charles laid on his mother's behalf. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Kate Middleton Wore a Military-Inspired Coat to Commemorate Remembrance Sunday," 10 Nov. 2019 Those meals are then donated on the listener’s behalf to a local food bank in Berea, Brook Park and Middleburg Heights.. Rich Heileman, cleveland, "Radio station’s 'Hunger Challenge’ aims to stock local food pantries: Around The Town," 8 Nov. 2019 But beyond the normal day-to-day of her busy career, Wood has spent a lot of time recently doing a different kind of work: advocating on behalf of domestic violence survivors, like herself. Anna Borges, SELF, "Evan Rachel Wood on Bisexuality, Rage, and Life After Trauma," 30 Oct. 2019 Savit’s response was also on behalf of Wiley and two others involved in deleting emails., "Duggan administration admonished for preferential treatment of Make Your Date program," 21 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'behalf.' 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 behalf

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for behalf

Middle English, from by + half half, side

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Time Traveler for behalf

Time Traveler

The first known use of behalf was in the 14th century

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Statistics for behalf

Last Updated

1 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Behalf.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 9 December 2019.

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More Definitions for behalf


be·​half | \ bi-ˈhaf How to pronounce behalf (audio) , -ˈhäf \

Kids Definition of behalf

: a person's interest or support He argued in my behalf.
on behalf of or in behalf of
1 : in the interest of I speak in behalf of my friend.
2 : as a representative of I accepted the award on behalf of the whole class.

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More from Merriam-Webster on behalf

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with behalf

Spanish Central: Translation of behalf

Nglish: Translation of behalf for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of behalf for Arabic Speakers

Comments on behalf

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