Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[bih-haf, -hahf] /bɪˈhæf, -ˈhɑf/
in / on behalf of, as a representative of or a proxy for:
On behalf of my colleagues, I address you tonight.
in / on someone's behalf, in the interest or aid of (someone):
He interceded in my behalf.
Origin of behalf
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English; Middle English bihalve, earlier as adv. and preposition with the sense “near(by),” orig. as prepositional phrase bi halve on one side; see be-, by1half Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for behalf
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The Dean of Faculty here interposed, speaking on the prisoner's behalf.

    The Law and the Lady Wilkie Collins
  • Stuart's appeal to the New York papers in behalf of Harriet was successful.

    The Root of Evil Thomas Dixon
  • And there he had a formal interview with the king Devaśakti, and on behalf of his master asked for the hand of his daughter.

    The Kath Sarit Sgara Somadeva Bhatta
  • Urgent appeals in its behalf in his periodical were made in vain.

    The Story of the Mormons William Alexander Linn
  • The boy picked it up with such roughness that Alan flinched on behalf of his card.

British Dictionary definitions for behalf


interest, part, benefit, or respect (only in the phrases on (someone's) behalf, on or US and Canadian in behalf of, in this (or that) behalf)
Usage note
On behalf of is sometimes wrongly used where on the part of is intended. The distinction is that on behalf of someone means `for someone's benefit' or `representing someone', while on the part of someone can be roughly paraphrased as `by someone'. So, the following example is incorrect: another act of apparent negligence, this time not on behalf of the company itself, but on behalf of its banker, when what was meant was there was negligence by the company's banker
Word Origin
Old English be halfe from be by + halfe side; compare Old Norse af halfu
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for behalf

c.1300, behalve (with dative suffix), from Old English (him) be healfe "by (his) side," and on (his) healfe "on (his) side," from healfe "side" (see half).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with behalf


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for behalf

All English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for behalf

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for behalf