See more synonyms for behind on
  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.
  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.
  1. following: the man behind.
  1. Informal. the buttocks.

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

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
  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
  1. (postpositive) in a position further back; retardedthe man behind prodded me
  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)

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.

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