noun, plural be·hooves [bih-hoovz] /bɪˈhuvz/.

use; advantage; benefit: The money was spent for his own behoof.

Origin of behoof

before 1000; Middle English behove, Old English behōf profit, need; cognate with Dutch behoef, German Behuf


[bih-hoov](chiefly in impersonal use)

verb (used with object), be·hooved, be·hoov·ing.

to be necessary or proper for, as for moral or ethical considerations; be incumbent on: It behooves the court to weigh evidence impartially.
to be worthwhile to, as for personal profit or advantage: It would behoove you to be nicer to those who could help you.

verb (used without object), be·hooved, be·hoov·ing.

Archaic. to be needful, proper, or due: Perseverance is a quality that behooves in a scholar.

Origin of behoove

before 900; Middle English behoven, Old English behōfian to need (behōf behoof + -ian infinitive suffix)

Synonyms for behoove Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for behooves

Contemporary Examples of behooves

  • I will still say that it behooves us not to forget that Morsi was no democrat.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Coming Clean on Egypt

    Michael Tomasky

    August 15, 2013

  • Given that said government is now spending almost a quarter of our annual income, it behooves us to keep an eye on it.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Is DC Real Estate Headed Up or Down?

    Megan McArdle

    October 23, 2012

Historical Examples of behooves

  • And so, my lads, it behooves us to be cautious with a very great caution.

    The Rock of Chickamauga

    Joseph A. Altsheler

  • It behooves me all the more to see to it that I am not duped in the end.

    Casanova's Homecoming

    Arthur Schnitzler

  • It behooves the materialists to use language with more precision and accuracy than this.

  • We know nothing about it, and, therefore, it behooves us to say nothing.

    Homeward Bound

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • It behooves us, gentlemen, to think first of the cities of our King.

    Sir Henry Morgan, Buccaneer

    Cyrus Townsend Brady

British Dictionary definitions for behooves


noun plural -hooves

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 behooves



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)."



Old English behofian "to have need of, have use for," verbal form of the ancient compound word represented by behoof.

Historically, it rimes with move, prove, but being now mainly a literary word, it is generally made to rime with rove, grove, by those who know it only in books. [OED]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper