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behind definition


This page has 20 definitions of behind in English. Behind is a preposition, an adverb and noun. Examples of how to use behind in a sentence are shown. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .


Alternative forms


From Middle English behinde, behinden, from Old English behindan (on the back side of, behind), equivalent to be- +‎ hind. Compare Old Saxon bihindan (behind, adverb), Middle High German behinter (behind; back).


  • (preposition, adverb)
    • IPA(key): /bɪˈhaɪnd/, /bəˈhaɪnd/
    • (file)
    • (file)
  • (noun)
  • Hyphenation: be‧hind



  1. At the back of; positioned with something else in front of.
    The car is behind the wall.
    • 1879, R[ichard] J[efferies], chapter 1, in The Amateur Poacher, London: Smith, Elder, & Co., [], OCLC 752825175:
      But then I had the [massive] flintlock by me for protection. ¶ [] The linen-press and a chest on the top of it formed, however, a very good gun-carriage; and, thus mounted, aim could be taken out of the window [], and a 'bead' could be drawn upon Molly, the dairymaid, kissing the fogger behind the hedge, little dreaming that the deadly tube was levelled at them.
    • 2013 July 19, Garton Ash, Timothy, “Where Dr Pangloss meets Machiavelli”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 6, page 18:
      Hidden behind thickets of acronyms and gorse bushes of detail, a new great game is under way across the globe. Some call it geoeconomics, but it's geopolitics too. The current power play consists of an extraordinary range of countries simultaneously sitting down to negotiate big free trade and investment agreements.
    Synonyms: in back of, to the rear of, (Chester) a-back
    Antonym: in front of
  2. To the back of. (Can we clean up(+) this sense?)
  3. After, time- or motion-wise.
    Antonym: ahead of
  4. responsible for
    Who is behind these terrorist attacks?
  5. In support of.
    The republicans are fully behind their candidate.
  6. Left a distance by, in progress or improvement; inferior to.
    I'm ranked sixth in the French class, behind five other pupils.
  7. (nonstandard, US, slang) As a result or consequence of
    • 2012, DeShawn Dorsey, Longsuffering Through Emotional Wounds, page 40:
      He was like, 'Fuck the police! Fuck you! You know who I am, you gonna quit playing with me, bitch.' I'm like let's go. 'Cause I wasn't trying to go to jail behind that shit.

Derived terms


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Dictionary:Entry layout § Translations.


behind (comparative behinder or more behind, superlative behindest or most behind)

  1. At the back part; in the rear. (Can we clean up(+) this sense?)
  2. Toward the back part or rear; backward.
    to look behind
    The others were still a long way behind.
  3. Overdue, in arrears.
    My employer is two paychecks behind on paying my salary.
    I'm two weeks behind in my schedule.
  4. Slow; of a watch or clock.
    My watch is four minutes behind.
  5. existing afterwards
    He left behind a legacy of death and sorrow.
    He stayed behind after the war.
  6. Backward in time or order of succession; past.
  7. Behind the scenes in a theatre; backstage.
    • 1890, Wilde, Oscar, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Vintage, published 2007, page 68:
      ‘After the performance was over I went behind, and spoke to her.’
  8. (archaic) Not yet brought forward, produced, or exhibited to view; out of sight; remaining.

Usage notes

For usage in phrasal verbs, see Category:English phrasal verbs with particle (behind).



behind (plural behinds)

  1. the rear, back-end
  2. (informal) butt, the buttocks, bottom
    • 2010, Mary Roach, “One Furry Step for Mankind: The Strange Careers of Ham and Enos”, in Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, W. W. Norton & Company, →ISBN, page 158:
      "So the catheter didn't have anything to do with keeping him from touching himself?" I don't usually go in for euphemisms, but Fineg is a man who says "behind", as in "I have a picture where he bit me in the behind." The catheter, it turns out, was in the chimp's femoral artery (to monitor blood pressure), not his urethra.
  3. (Australian rules football) A one-point score.
    • 1880, “The Opening Ball”, in G. Lehmann, editor, Comic Australian Verse, 1975, quoted in G. A. Wilkes, A Dictionary of Australian Colloquialisms, second edition, Sydney University Press, published 1985, →ISBN:
      A roar from ten thousand throats go up,
      For we've kicked another behind.
  4. (baseball, slang, 1800s) The catcher.
  5. In the Eton College field game, any of a group of players consisting of two "shorts" (who try to kick the ball over the bully) and a "long" (who defends the goal).


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Dictionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Derived terms

Related terms


  • behind in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
  • behind in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.
  • Andrea Tyler and Vyvyan Evans, "Spatial particles of orientation", in The Semantics of English Prepositions: Spatial Scenes, Embodied Meaning and Cognition, Cambridge University Press, 2003, 0-521-81430 8