Origin of behoof

before 1000; Middle English behove, Old English behōf profit, need; cognate with Dutch behoef, German Behuf Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for behoof

Historical Examples of behoof

  • “Nay, I would not have you peril your life for my behoof,” she replied, with a smile.

    The Grateful Indian

    W.H.G. Kingston

  • If ye do well, to your own behoof will ye do it; and if ye do evil, against yourselves will ye do it.

    Pearls of Thought

    Maturin M. Ballou

  • Even the chapel-service has been brightened up for their behoof.

    Mystic London:

    Charles Maurice Davies

  • If sages were ever wise in their own behoof, I might have foreseen all this.

    The Scarlet Letter

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • I could wish therefore, that, for their benefit and behoof, this circumstance were omitted.

British Dictionary definitions for behoof


noun plural -hooves
  1. rare advantage or profit

Word Origin for behoof

Old English behōf; related to Middle High German behuof something useful; see behove
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 behoof

c.1200, "use, benefit, advantage;" Old English had bihoflic "useful," implying *bihof "advantage, utility;" from Proto-Germanic *bi-hof "that which binds, requirement, obligation" (cf. Old Frisian bihof "advantage," Dutch behoef, Middle High German bihuof "useful thing," German Behuf "benefit, use, advantage"). In the common Germanic compound, the first element, likely intensive, is cognate with be- and the second with Old English hof, past tense of hebban "to raise" (see heave (v.)). The original sense is perhaps, then, "taking up (for oneself)."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper