• synonyms


See more synonyms for behind on Thesaurus.com
  1. at or toward the rear of: Look behind the house.
  2. not keeping up with, later than; after: behind schedule.
  3. in the state of making less progress than: We can't afford to fall behind our competitors.
  4. on the farther side of; beyond: behind the mountain.
  5. originating, supporting, or promoting: Who's behind this program?
  6. hidden or unrevealed by: Malice lay behind her smile.
  7. at the controls of: behind the wheel of a car.
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  1. at or toward the rear; rearward: to lag behind.
  2. in a place, state, or stage already passed.
  3. in arrears; behindhand: to be behind in one's rent.
  4. slow, as a watch or clock: more than 20 minutes behind.
  5. as a cause or often latent feature of: Behind their harassment lay the traditional fear of foreigners.
  6. in a situation that exists afterward: The victim left behind a large family.
  7. Archaic. in reserve; to come: Greater support is yet behind.
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  1. following: the man behind.
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  1. Informal. the buttocks.
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Origin of behind

before 900; Middle English behinde(n), Old English behindan; for adv. suffix -an cf. before. See be-, hind1

Synonym study

1, 2. Behind, after both refer to a position following something else. Behind applies primarily to position in space, and suggests that one person or thing is at the back of another; it may also refer to (a fixed) time: He stood behind the chair. You are behind the appointed time. After applies primarily to time; when it denotes position in space, it is not used with precision, and refers usually to bodies in motion: Rest after a hard day's work. They entered the room, one after another.

Usage note

See back1.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for behind

trailing, laggard, slow, behindhand, bottom, backside, posterior, seat, tail, tush, can, fundament, rump, fanny, rear, breech, causing, backing, supporting, abaft

Examples from the Web for behind

Contemporary Examples of behind

Historical Examples of behind

British Dictionary definitions for behind


  1. in or to a position further back than; at the rear of; at the back of
  2. in the past in relation toI've got the exams behind me now
  3. late according to; not keeping up withrunning behind schedule
  4. concerning the circumstances surroundingthe reasons behind his departure
  5. backing or supportingI'm right behind you in your application
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  1. in or to a position further back; following
  2. remaining after someone's departurehe left it behind
  3. in debt; in arrearsto fall behind with payments
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  1. (postpositive) in a position further back; retardedthe man behind prodded me
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  1. informal the buttocks
  2. Australian rules football a score of one point made by kicking the ball over the behind line between a goalpost and one of the smaller outer posts (behind posts)
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Word Origin for behind

Old English behindan
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 behind


Old English behindan "behind, after," from bi "by" + hindan "from behind" (see hind (adj.)). The prepositional sense emerged in Old English. Euphemistic noun meaning "backside of a person" is from 1786. Phrase behind the times is from 1905. Behind the scenes (1711) is from the theater; figurative sense attested by 1779.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with behind


In addition to the idioms beginning with behind

  • behind bars
  • behind closed doors
  • behind in
  • behind someone's back
  • behind the eight ball
  • behind the scenes
  • behind the times
  • behind time

also see:

  • come from behind
  • drop behind
  • fall behind
  • get behind
  • power behind the throne
  • put behind one
  • wet behind the ears
  • with one arm tied behind one's back
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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.