View synonyms for behind


[ bih-hahynd ]


  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.


/ bɪˈhaɪnd /


  1. in or to a position further back than; at the rear of; at the back of
  2. in the past in relation to

    I've got the exams behind me now

  3. late according to; not keeping up with

    running behind schedule

  4. concerning the circumstances surrounding

    the reasons behind his departure

  5. backing or supporting

    I'm right behind you in your application


  1. in or to a position further back; following
  2. remaining after someone's departure

    he left it behind

  3. in debt; in arrears

    to fall behind with payments


  1. postpositive in a position further back; retarded

    the 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 )

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Usage Note

See back 1.

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Word History and Origins

Origin of behind1

First recorded before 900; Middle English behinde(n), Old English behindan; equivalent to be- + hind 1; for adverb suffix -an, before

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Word History and Origins

Origin of behind1

Old English behindan

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Idioms and Phrases

  • 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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Synonym Study

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.

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Example Sentences

Have you tried to access the research that your tax dollars finance, almost all of which is kept behind a paywall?

Not to be left behind, progressives in neighboring Wisconsin clamored to join the cutting edge of public health.

I think a lot of it has to do with the attitude and the energy behind it and the honesty.

Other major news outlets made the same decision, hiding behind a misplaced sense of multicultural sensitivity.

Prosecutors wanted him to spend at least 10 years behind bars.

Joe looked at her with a smile, his face still solemn and serious for all its youth and the fires of new-lit hope behind his eyes.

More soldiers crowded into the cave and Professor-Commander Krafft came in behind them.

In treble, second and fourth, the first change is a dodge behind; and the second time the treble leads, there's a double Bob.

The Seven-score and four on the six middle Bells, the treble leading, and the tenor lying behind every change, makes good Musick.

I seized the opportunity to watch what I supposed would be a most interesting interview, from behind a curtain.


Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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




behestbehind bars