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.

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 The Tusken timeline may eventually reveal that Boba suffered grave injuries on behalf of his new brothers and is struggling to get by as a shadow of his former self, for instance. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 12 Jan. 2022 Lisa Alter of Alter, Kendrick & Baron, LLP negotiated the deal on behalf of Rodgers. Jem Aswad, Variety, 12 Jan. 2022 The deal was negotiated by Legendary on behalf of the filmmakers. Mia Galuppo, The Hollywood Reporter, 12 Jan. 2022 Kevin Hamilton, a lawyer who filed two of the lawsuits on behalf of individual voters, noted that the court could also order changes to the dates. Kate Brumback, ajc, 12 Jan. 2022 But Lauren Saunders, associate director of the National Consumer Law Center, a nonprofit organization that advocates on behalf of consumers, said research shows borrowers find better alternatives when states rein in payday lenders. Gretchen Morgenson, NBC News, 11 Jan. 2022 Twitter has since removed the screenshots on behalf of the copyright holder, adding credence to the leak. Jacob Siegal, BGR, 11 Jan. 2022 Cawthorn's office quickly condemned the candidacy challenge of the Republican, which was filed on behalf of 11 voters with the State Board of Elections, which oversees a process by which a candidate's qualifications are scrutinized. Gary D. Robertson, USA TODAY, 11 Jan. 2022 Poitier's political risk-taking on behalf of freedom's cause represents a generational legacy that continues today. Peniel Joseph, CNN, 11 Jan. 2022

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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Dictionary Entries Near behalf

be had



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Last Updated

15 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Behalf.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2022.

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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.

More from Merriam-Webster on behalf

Nglish: Translation of behalf for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of behalf for Arabic Speakers


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