Nearby words

  1. beheld,
  2. behemoth,
  3. behenic,
  4. behenic acid,
  5. behest,
  6. behind bars,
  7. behind closed doors,
  8. behind in,
  9. behind someone's back,
  10. behind the eight ball

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for behind

British Dictionary definitions for behind



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


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


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


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



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.