behind (adv., prep.)

Old English behindan "at the back of, after," from bi "by" (see by) + hindan "from behind" (see hind (adj.)). The prepositional sense emerged in Old English. The figurative sense of "not so far advanced, not on equality with" is from c. 1200. The euphemistic noun meaning "backside of a person" is from 1786.

To do something behind (someone's) back "clandestinely" is from late 14c. Phrase behind the times is by 1826. Behind the scenes (1711) is from the theater; figurative sense attested by 1779.

updated on October 06, 2022