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  1. a command or directive.
  2. an earnest or strongly worded request.
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Origin of behest

before 1000; Middle English bihest(e), Old English behǣs promise. See be-, hest

Synonyms for behest

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for behest

precept, direction, instruction, word, demand, wish, injunction, request, commandment, charge, command, bidding, mandate, dictate, order, solicitation

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Historical Examples of behest

British Dictionary definitions for behest


  1. an authoritative order or earnest request
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Word Origin for behest

Old English behǣs, from behātan; see be-, hest
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

Word Origin and History for behest


Old English behæs "a vow," perhaps from behatan "to promise" (from be- + hatan "command, call;" see cite) and confused with obsolete hest "command," which may account for the parasitic -t as well as the Middle English shift in meaning to "command, injunction" (late 12c.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper