[ bih-haf, -hahf ]
See synonyms for behalf on

Idioms about behalf

  1. in / on behalf of, as a representative of or a proxy for: On behalf of my colleagues, I address you tonight.

  2. in / on someone's behalf, in the interest or aid of (someone): He interceded in my behalf.

Origin of behalf

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English; Middle English bihalve, earlier as adverb and preposition with the sense “near(by),” originally, as prepositional phrase bi halve “on one side”; see be-, by, half

Words Nearby behalf Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use behalf in a sentence

  • England proclaimed a rough indignation at the demand for Gibraltar, which Austria had made in behalf of Spain.

  • Before I'd gone five miles the hoodoo that had been working overtime on my behalf got busy again.

    Raw Gold | Bertrand W. Sinclair
  • Above all else he did not want Winifred to know that solicitude in her behalf had drawn him from the path of duty.

    The Red Year | Louis Tracy
  • He was indeed a faithful old servant; but he was quite ignorant of any memorial on his behalf having been sent to the Directors.

  • These misfortunes culminated in an appeal to his countrymen for subscriptions on his behalf in the musical papers.

British Dictionary definitions for behalf


/ (bɪˈhɑːf) /

  1. 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)

Origin of behalf

Old English be halfe from be by + halfe side; compare Old Norse af halfu

usage For behalf

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

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with behalf


see in behalf of.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.