behind

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

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).

Pronunciation[edit]

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

Preposition[edit]

behind

  1. At or to the back or far side of.
    The children were hiding behind the wall.
    The sun went behind the clouds.
    Look behind you!
    • 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: (US) in back of, to the rear of, (Chester) a-back
    Antonym: in front of
    1. (figuratively) Concealed by (something serving as a facade or disguise).
      Behind the smile was a cruel intention.
    2. (figuratively) In the past, from the viewpoint of.
      All my problems are behind me.
  2. Less forward or advanced than; after.
    Antonym: ahead of
    1. After in physical progress or distance.
      Smith finished the race a lap behind the others.
    2. After in developmental progress, score, grade, etc.; inferior to.
      I'm ranked sixth in the French class, behind five other pupils.
      In the cricket match, England are 120 runs behind India.
    3. After in time.
      London is nine hours behind Tokyo.
  3. Responsible for, being the creator or controller of.
    Who is behind these terrorist attacks?
    Mr Jones was the man behind the redevelopment plan.
  4. Underlying, being the reason for or explanation of.
    What is behind this unexpected decision?
  5. In support of.
    The republicans are fully behind their candidate.
  6. (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[edit]

Translations[edit]

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 Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Adverb[edit]

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

  1. At or in the rear or back part of something.
    The water flows out through the pipe, and the sediment collects behind.
  2. In a rearward direction.
    We ran and ran, without once looking behind.
  3. So as to come after someone or something in position, distance, advancement, ranking, time, etc.
    The slower runners were left a long way behind.
    In the cricket match, England finished a long way behind.
    The worst thing about autumn is that winter follows behind.
  4. So as to be still in place after someone or something has departed or ceased to exist.
    I couldn't be bothered to carry the ironing board, so I left it behind.
    He stayed behind after the war.
    He left behind a legacy of death and sorrow.
    The island was inundated by the sea, leaving not a trace behind.
  5. Backward in time or order of succession; past.
  6. 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.’
  7. (archaic) Not yet brought forward, produced, or exhibited to view; out of sight; remaining.

Usage notes[edit]

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

Translations[edit]

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 Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
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 Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Adjective[edit]

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

  1. Not advanced to the required or expected degree; overdue or in arrears.
    I'm very behind in my schedule.
    My employer is two paychecks behind on paying my salary.
  2. (of a watch or clock) Slow.
    My watch is behind by four minutes.

Noun[edit]

behind (plural behinds)

  1. The rear, back-end.
    This part fits under the behind of the vehicle.
    She sneaked up on me from behind.
  2. (informal) The buttocks, bottom, butt.
    I was stung on the behind by a wasp.
    • 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.
    • 2011 December 12, Alyssa Newcomb, “Sit, Stay, Aim, Fire. Dog Shoots Another Hunter”, in ABC News[1], archived from the original on 25 October 2021, retrieved 24 October 2021:
      "The dog got excited, was jumping around inside the boat and then it jumped on the gun. It went off, shooting the [decoy setter] in the buttocks," Box Elder County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Kevin Potter told the Salt Lake Tribune. Twenty-seven rounds of birdshot were removed from the man's behind after the accident.
  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).

Translations[edit]

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 Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

References[edit]

  • 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