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. 2019


Examples from the Web for behind

Contemporary Examples of behind

Historical Examples of behind


British Dictionary definitions for behind

behind

preposition

in or to a position further back than; at the rear of; at the back of
in the past in relation toI've got the exams behind me now
late according to; not keeping up withrunning behind schedule
concerning the circumstances surroundingthe reasons behind his departure
backing or supportingI'm right behind you in your application

adverb

in or to a position further back; following
remaining after someone's departurehe left it behind
in debt; in arrearsto fall behind with payments

adjective

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

noun

informal the buttocks
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
adv.

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

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.