Definition of behind in US English:



  • 1At or to the far side of (something), typically so as to be hidden by it.

    ‘the recording machinery was kept behind screens’
    ‘the sun came out from behind a cloud’
    • ‘She had planned to meet all her friends at their usual location, behind the school on the grassy hill.’
    • ‘The cameras would be installed so they could record the scene ahead of, behind and to either side of the car.’
    • ‘He walked around the room to find her sitting on the ground behind her bed, hid from the door by her high mattresses.’
    • ‘Follow the road around to the left and the house is located on the right hand side behind the electric gates.’
    • ‘They were sitting on the floor behind the other side of the kitchen counter.’
    • ‘Armed commandos had taken position behind bushes on both sides of the road.’
    • ‘You'll need to dismantle the phone to access the card though, as it's hidden behind the battery.’
    • ‘Certain scenes were shot with the use of hidden cameras, positioned behind windows or in the back of a truck.’
    • ‘She arrives in a great procession at the end in the book - not being coy hidden behind a banner.’
    • ‘She thanked him, and left with a hidden smile behind her hand as she brushed her hair aside.’
    • ‘They should come and see what the staff do for us here instead of sitting behind desks.’
    • ‘The doorman directed him up a hidden flight of stairs behind a velvet rope.’
    • ‘Jen reached the table but instead of sitting down she stood behind one of the chairs.’
    • ‘The hidden sun slipped behind the tall wall.’
    • ‘From where she was sitting she could not see the twins watching the game from the other side behind the goal.’
    • ‘He was sitting about five tables to the right of her hidden behind some plastic trees.’
    • ‘He said the proposed location behind the leisure centre was too far away and too difficult to get to on top of a hill.’
    • ‘I've put myself directly in front of a concrete bollard at the end of the rank and there is no way he can run me down if I side step behind it.’
    • ‘Soon, he could only see the top of her head behind a high-stacked cart of pottery and herbs.’
    • ‘At present a housing development has started on the southern side, just behind the woods.’
    at the back of, at the rear of, beyond, on the other side of, on the far side of, on the further side of
    after, following, to the rear of, in the wake of, at the back of, close on, hard on the heels of, on the trail of
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Underlying (something) but not apparent to the observer.
      ‘the agony behind his decision to retire’
      • ‘She said he concealed his darker side behind a veneer of respectability in order to hide his true character from adoring fans.’
      • ‘At least everyone seemed to appreciate the work we have done on the house - the panic behind it all is never apparent!’
      • ‘And worse still for the government, the row has exposed the real agenda behind their plans.’
      • ‘The true story behind the death of baby Charlotte Latta will never be known.’
      • ‘There is some hidden truth behind gossip so who knows what the heck he'd ask out of me.’
      • ‘The real tragedy of all this is that the real problem behind these events gets lost in the tabloid headlines.’
      • ‘Docudrama is generally expected to fill out the human story behind important events.’
      • ‘That is the underlying theme behind the controversial diet called Atkins.’
      • ‘Filmed on location in Mongolia, this film looks at the legend behind the man.’
      • ‘A series of guided tours for people to discover the truth behind a hidden street has revealed more of its history.’
      • ‘For once we get to see the dark side lurking behind his pleasant demeanor.’
      • ‘When they negotiate, they often hide a major concession behind a barrage of bluster.’
      • ‘Parker exposes the vanity, artifice and delusion that stand behind these apparently candid books.’
      • ‘Tell us what was going on behind the scenes as far as that decision and how it played out.’
      • ‘Is this what lurks behind his divine plan to make pubs and restaurants more conducive to dining?’
      • ‘After Olga's death, she started to piece together the truth behind the stories.’
      • ‘What enticed him about the script was the underlying theme behind its premise.’
      • ‘But behind the fixed smiles, observers reckon the pain has reached such top outlets too.’
      • ‘It seems a fitting observation on the lives of comedians behind whose talent to amuse so often lies private unhappiness.’
  • 2In a line or procession, following or further back than (another member of the line or procession)

    ‘stuck behind a slow-moving tractor’
    • ‘Joel jumped to his feet and went out the door with Marc following close behind him.’
    • ‘It was going pretty slow like most buses do, and there was a line of about ten cars behind us.’
    • ‘Apparently some speed freak had an issue with being stuck behind my slow-moving car.’
    • ‘He is trailing behind us, apparently not really knowing what to do or say.’
    • ‘How many times have you driven behind a ten year old Ford or Vauxhall that puffs out massive clouds of blue smoke every time it sets off?’
    • ‘But it is growing fast and people are starting to realise that a lot more can be done than just following behind the boat.’
    • ‘The white horse followed on behind him, perhaps in the vain hope of a Polo mint or a carrot.’
    • ‘Leara followed close behind him, thinking of the pain Arthur felt and what it meant.’
    • ‘I see familiar landmarks slip by and then we get stuck behind a tractor with huge wheels and a trailer.’
    • ‘Kevin got up and followed close behind his client as everyone made their way outside.’
    • ‘Catherine began to make her way out of my room, the guards following close behind her.’
    • ‘He trains on his own, often a solitary figure with nothing but a support car behind him, and goes to bed hungry to keep down his weight.’
    • ‘She heard her feet running and she also heard another set of feet following close behind her.’
    • ‘When we get there we will go out the back door and I want you to follow very close behind me.’
    • ‘He followed behind the ambulance on the way to the hospital and then came and fetched me.’
    • ‘This becomes very effective if there is an enemy ship following behind you.’
    • ‘I got there just over 25 minutes late, but I was stuck behind a tractor for the last section.’
    • ‘Amy opened the door slightly and slipped into the room, Jessica following close behind her.’
    • ‘She made a mad dash for the gas station as her new college friend and I followed behind her.’
    • ‘She walked to the front door to be sure it was locked as he followed close behind her.’
    at the back of, at the rear of, beyond, on the other side of, on the far side of, on the further side of
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 At the back of (someone), after they have passed through a door.
      ‘she ran out of the room, slamming the door behind her’
      • ‘He then left the cell, locking it up behind him.’
      • ‘He laid down some money and then walked out of the diner, the door slamming shut behind him.’
      • ‘She slammed the door loudly behind her and threw away the papers she had been carrying.’
      • ‘When she got into the room she sunk to the floor and the door slammed shut behind her.’
      • ‘Closing the heavy door silently behind me I glanced right and then left in the wide sunny street.’
      • ‘He gave up, slammed the front door behind him, and strode off into the street.’
      • ‘She ran into her bedroom, slammed the door behind her, and fell onto her bed crying.’
      • ‘I couldn't find him one day after he had forced his way underneath the bath and the side panel had closed behind him.’
      • ‘You get visibly upset when you don't get your way at meetings and storm out slamming the door behind you.’
      • ‘She stomped out to the front of the store in a huff, slamming the dividing door behind her.’
      • ‘I opened the front door and took a deep breath before stepping inside and closing the door behind me.’
      • ‘Her uncle followed and once they reached the house, he locked the gate behind them.’
      • ‘She slowly backs out of the room, closing the door behind her.’
      • ‘When we got back to her house, she quickly ran up to her room slamming the door behind her.’
      • ‘The only time someone took my hand was to lead me out the door and slam it behind me.’
      • ‘She hopped down from the cab of the tow truck and slammed the door shut behind her.’
      • ‘I slammed the door shut behind me and ran to where the sleeping cat lay on the couch.’
      • ‘Hurriedly, they moved inside and toward another elevator, the door locking automatically behind them.’
      • ‘Tears were already gathering in my eyes as I ran into my room and slammed the door behind me.’
      • ‘I pressed the garage door button twice more and it closed behind me.’
  • 3In support of or giving guidance to (someone else)

    ‘whatever you decide to do, I'll be behind you’
    ‘the power behind the throne’
    • ‘Petitions have been launched in both towns to save the units and today the Gazette throws its support behind the campaign.’
    • ‘Residents have rallied behind Mrs Tracy to try and get the decision reversed.’
    • ‘William's prestige soared and popular opinion once again swung behind the resistance movement.’
    • ‘They managed to put out campaigns rallying supporters behind them and we just have to do the same.’
    • ‘The Russian government also threw its support behind the domestic aviation industry.’
    • ‘That level of growth serves the interest of a few and these are the ones who are deemed to be the power behind the throne.’
    • ‘The state no longer provide for them like they used to, and wouldn't have to if they had the support of their family behind them.’
    • ‘Finally, I would just like to thank the supporters again for getting behind the team as they have done in recent games.’
    • ‘We in the West End are fully behind any efforts to try and overturn this decision.’
    • ‘We just want him to know we are right behind him as he approaches the decision.’
    • ‘We can't do what we do without our listeners getting behind us and supporting us financially.’
    • ‘He said he believed public support was already behind them.’
    • ‘We are all behind you supporting you all the way.’
    • ‘Should a country stand behind its officers even if they make the wrong decisions in the heat of battle?’
    • ‘It will be great to get a huge crowd behind us and support us as we strive for our fourth consecutive victory.’
    • ‘She said that her members were behind him all the way.’
    • ‘He called on the fans who supported the club during the Premiership years to get back behind the side.’
    • ‘They gave this match all they had and the supporters really got behind them.’
    • ‘A lot of people are behind her and support her.’
    • ‘We asked the supporters to get behind the team, be more patient and give the players a chance to do well.’
    supporting, backing, for, on the side of, in agreement with
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    1. 3.1 Guiding, controlling, or responsible for (an event or plan)
      ‘I began to believe that he was behind the whole plot’
      ‘the reasoning behind their decisions’
      • ‘The man behind Yorkshire's biggest event in the agricultural calendar has lost his battle against cancer.’
      • ‘He claimed that communists were behind the decision.’
      • ‘The developer behind a controversial housing plan has backed down and agreed to carry out major sewer work.’
      • ‘Mr Lowry was more interested in the execution of decisions rather than the detail behind them.’
      • ‘However, it seems that shaky economic conditions appear to be behind its decision to cut jobs.’
      • ‘In it, the authors raise serious questions about who was really behind the plan.’
      • ‘However, on that occasion, for the first time, we were informed of the decision and the rational behind it.’
      • ‘The other five are alleged to be members of the group behind the train bombings.’
      • ‘The man behind plans to transform a plot of land into a nature reserve has vowed to see it open by the end of the year.’
      • ‘Three compelling reasons may be behind this apparent shift in policy.’
      • ‘The possibility that this man was behind the deaths of the other women is being investigated.’
      • ‘They want company bosses behind the plan to visit their villages so they can talk about their concerns.’
      • ‘The attempt to make things faster has been a driving force behind human achievement.’
      • ‘The man behind a controversial plan to site a homeless centre in Clifton is to have a meeting with residents' groups.’
      • ‘During this meeting you should discuss and make notes of the reason behind their decision to leave.’
      • ‘Anastasia's mum fears that her daughter's profound deafness is behind Oxford's decision.’
      • ‘He refused to comment on the allegation that favoritism was behind the decision.’
      • ‘I can understand the thinking behind that decision, but I can't say that I agree with it.’
      • ‘Since then he has been regarded as the driving force behind the company's development in Britain and Asia.’
      • ‘The President does not need to repeat the rationale behind his decision to raise fuel prices.’
      • ‘The police have apparently developed four theories about who might have been behind the bombings.’
      • ‘The first story sheds light on the hidden inspiration behind Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.’
      • ‘Holly Combe examines the hidden motives behind the calls for a return to chivalry.’
      responsible for, at the bottom of, at the back of, the cause of, the source of, the organizer of
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  • 4After the departure or death of (the person referred to)

    ‘he left behind him a manuscript that was subsequently published’
    • ‘He left behind him three daughters, and a son born of the same mother.’
    • ‘Comedians instinctively understand that to be alive in death they need to leave a trail of emotional debris behind them.’
    • ‘When they left the encampment they left behind them beds, wearing apparel and clothing of all kinds scattered around.’
    • ‘He left behind him several unpublished manuscripts.’
  • 5Less advanced than (someone else) in achievement or development.

    ‘the government admitted it is ten years behind the West in PC technology’
    • ‘A country which cannot maintain growth rates falls further and further behind its competitors.’
    • ‘In richer cities such as Beijing and Shanghai it is not far behind developed country levels.’
    • ‘It has lagged behind other developed countries in setting standards for daily intake.’
    • ‘Its development is well behind that of several comparable Asian cities, yet it is one of the most expensive.’
    • ‘Where Scotland is lagging behind its competitors is in political, and even popular, support.’
    • ‘We are about ten years behind world leaders in the technology already.’
    • ‘Athletics is several years behind swimming in the development of a coherent structure and a winning mentality.’
    less advanced than, slower than, weaker than, inferior to
    later than, late in relation to, after
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  • 6Having a lower score than (another competitor)

    ‘Woodnam moved to ten under par, five shots behind Fred Couples’
    • ‘They lie a disappointing fourth and are already ten points behind the leaders.’
    • ‘They are three points behind Elton but have five games in hand.’
    • ‘No, the really shocking statistic was that Hearts were ten points behind Celtic.’
    • ‘He is now 11 shots behind Els and admits his dream of an unprecedented grand slam is all but over.’
    • ‘But Todd will not let heads drop ahead of a clash with the side one place behind them in fifth.’
    • ‘He had also started the day nine shots behind first round leader Carl Pettersson.’
    • ‘Spring View are now just 22 points behind the top two following a seven-wicket win at Standish.’
    • ‘Bauer started the day two shots behind Laura Diaz and tied for second place.’
    • ‘That left him level for the tournament but a massive 14 shots behind runaway winner Goosen.’
    • ‘Ten points behind Celtic and Hearts at the start of the day, they had no reason to come out of the traps with reluctance.’
    • ‘United are seven points behind the Hertfordshire side, but they have three games in hand.’
    • ‘It's all too easy to go to the US and find yourself 20 shots behind the winner.’
    • ‘A fifth successive draw for Brighouse Town saw them slip four points behind the two Keighley sides.’
    • ‘Early on, he suffers the indignity of being three shots behind an Englishman.’
    • ‘On level par, Matthew was seven shots behind the leader.’
    • ‘With two games remaining the Kildare town side are four points behind Portarlington.’
    • ‘Currently, with two games left they are five points behind Windsor, which has the last spot.’
    • ‘She opened with a 70, and added a 73 to be in the top ten and just six behind Daniel going into the weekend.’
    • ‘He was 15 shots behind Phil Mickelson but that was the least of his worries.’
    • ‘After the first weekend of racing, he was sitting third behind the joint leaders.’


  • 1At or to the far side or the back side of something.

    ‘Campbell grabbed him from behind’
    ‘as I looked behind, my feet crashed into a basket’
    • ‘If someone tackles you from behind or the side, you have to go down.’
    • ‘She had gone ten or 20 yards past him when he ran up, grabbed her throat from behind and assaulted her.’
    • ‘Mia was sitting up looking at me from behind and a few boys had quit doing the pushups.’
    • ‘You sat in the middle of the car just as you would in an F1 car, with your passengers to the side and slightly behind.’
    • ‘Alex, who was wounded in the stomach and arm, was apparently shot from behind, the judge said.’
    • ‘Cowardly thugs jumped a former soldier from behind and savagely attacked him as he walked home after a night out in York.’
    • ‘It meant he could not make a move on those immediately ahead and was a sitting target for those chasing from behind.’
    • ‘Bending down, he wrapped his arms around her from behind and left a kiss on her cheek.’
    • ‘A movement behind and to the left made her turn to face the guard sent to challenge her.’
    • ‘Above us are snorkellers looking down at us and diving groups below, behind and ahead.’
    • ‘He grabbed her from behind and violently attacked and indecently assaulted her.’
    • ‘He took them for a walk and they attacked him from behind for no apparent reason.’
    • ‘Dumont films it from behind and to one side such that the perspective becomes slightly distorted.’
    • ‘He grew bigger every time you looked behind as he followed you.’
    • ‘The unknown attacker grabbed her from behind.’
    • ‘He attacked the younger boy from behind.’
    • ‘He approached the girl from behind and then ran off towards Hartfield Road.’
    • ‘He grabbed her from behind and indecently assaulted her but she managed to fight him off and ran to a nearby house.’
  • 2Remaining after someone or something is gone.

    ‘don't leave me behind’
    ‘blocks of ice left behind by a retreating glacier’
    • ‘It's sad that they leave rubbish behind and equally sad that the resources of the council have to be deployed to clear it up.’
    • ‘Six per cent of those responding to the survey said guests had even left a family member behind.’
    • ‘The narratives tend to focus on family members left behind, in states of bemused and angry grief.’
    • ‘Suddenly the beauty of the location became even tougher to leave behind.’
    • ‘Please send what you can to support those left behind, they need to survive and everyone can do a lot to help.’
    • ‘As we travel around the capital, it's apparent just what the water has left behind.’
    • ‘My job is to follow clues left behind on the seabed of disasters that may have taken place hundreds of years ago.’
    • ‘He was apparently left behind when his owners went back to China, in the care of a friend.’
    • ‘She shifted her stare back to the bag he left behind and gently touched it with her fingers.’
    • ‘Not wishing to be left behind, the Observer revealed yesterday that it has a blog.’
    • ‘Yet those who do agree to go know that they will be putting any family members they leave behind in mortal danger.’
    • ‘Whoever did it left behind an empty cart of strong beer.’
    • ‘It is thought the burglars were stealing to order as they left behind scores of instruments also worth thousands of pounds.’
    • ‘We got out of there as fast as we could leave our mess behind and then went to the record store.’
    • ‘Then we were instructed to leave our belongings behind and return to the departure gate.’
    • ‘How can you move on when you don't even know what you are leaving behind and why?’
    • ‘She ran down the hallway toward the service elevator, leaving her serving cart behind.’
    • ‘The package is believed to have been luggage left behind on a train.’
    • ‘I know a lot more Bulgarian now and hopefully won't leave my luggage behind anywhere.’
    • ‘The refugees seem anxious to get back to their homes and many of them left behind family members in the city.’
    afterwards, remaining after departure
    View synonyms
  • 3Further back than other members of a group.

    ‘Bill led the way, with the others a short distance behind’
    • ‘Following behind were the regimental colonels and crusty old generals on horseback.’
    • ‘The serpent swam toward shore, and the smaller serpents followed close behind.’
    • ‘He was taking the car for a test run on Monday evening with his father following behind.’
    • ‘A sulky little girl, maybe ten or eleven years old, followed a few yards behind.’
    • ‘I was following along close behind, not in any great hurry, and I'm glad I did.’
    • ‘Zaynab was rushed to hospital while the family followed behind in their cars.’
    • ‘I rode in the car with Dad back to his house while Debbie followed on behind so I could find out what had gone on.’
    • ‘Everyone else followed behind, and as a group we arrived five minutes early.’
    • ‘Freddy on the other hand lags behind and then stops by a locker to talk to one of his numerous acquaintances.’
    • ‘I followed behind, blushing massively, until we got to school, panting with exhilaration.’
    • ‘He followed close behind but stopped and turned back when he was only a couple of steps up.’
    • ‘Will and Jules followed behind in silence, each wondering what had upset him so much.’
    • ‘He was left well behind but it soon became apparent he had the fastest car in the race.’
    • ‘His girlfriend was following behind in a car and is believed to have seen the collision.’
    • ‘Six police motorcyclists drove in front of the coach, with two more outriders and a police car following on behind.’
    • ‘Then he stood up and started to walk out, with my mum following closely behind.’
    after, afterwards, at the back, in the rear, in the wake, at the end, at six o'clock
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  • 4(in a game or contest) having a score lower than that of the opposition.

    ‘polls showed him as much as 50 points behind’
    • ‘One serious drawback of the contain-and-counter attitude is apparent when a team goes behind.’
    • ‘He admitted he was not a happy man after seeing his side go behind for the fifth time in the last six games.’
    • ‘In truth, Wales should have been 20 points behind and out of the match by half time.’
    • ‘The Conference South side fell further behind when Chris Llewellyn hit number four’
    • ‘But he sends his kick just wide of the posts to leave the home side eight points behind.’
  • 5Slow or late in accomplishing a task.

    ‘getting behind with my work’
    ‘things were falling behind’
    • ‘She's behind with her schoolwork after being sick and being away.’
    • ‘I'm behind in my classes and buried under papers I haven't started.’
    • ‘So it comes as no surprise that they should have fallen behind in developing a system intended to do the impossible.’
    • ‘I feel like I’m behind with everything at the moment.’
    running late, late, behind schedule, behindhand, delayed, not on time, behind time
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    1. 5.1 In arrears.
      ‘she was behind with her rent’
      • ‘It's hardly surprising if he's behind with his rent and his new landlords have a more profitable venture in mind.’
      • ‘They're behind with their bills.’
      • ‘The school principal informs Niki that her son will have to leave the school as she's behind with his fees.’
      in arrears, overdue, in debt, in the red
      View synonyms
  • 6In a place or time already past.

    ‘the adventure lay behind them’
    • ‘In Ireland, where I was last week, they have moved decisively to leave old attitudes behind.’
    • ‘With five albums behind him, Haines has a tight grip on what exactly he wants from his sound, and knows his limitations.’
    • ‘Not bad for a youngster with just ten senior appearances behind him.’
    • ‘It soon became clear that his best days were behind him and his achievements at Liverpool are modest.’
    • ‘Being able to spend more time with his family, was part of his decision to leave fishing behind.’
    • ‘While there is plenty of development near Richmond, we left that ten miles behind us.’


  • 1informal The buttocks.

    ‘sitting on her behind’
    • ‘Times have changed, so when we leave our desk at the end of the day we should be getting our big, lazy behinds down to our local sports centres.’
    • ‘They wiggle their behinds, pull faces, and dance with newfound vigour, passion and excitement, all the while giggling uncontrollably at their reflections on our car.’
    • ‘After gliding maybe two steps, we would simultaneously fall down on our behinds.’
    • ‘Hopefully naked behinds and former page 3 models will not be making an appearance.’
    • ‘I've also bought some iron oxide hand warmers in case we break down on a Col and end up freezing our behinds off.’
    • ‘On a Web site I won't name, people post images they've taken - in public places - of other people's behinds.’
    • ‘Administrative professionals, if they're any good, save their bosses' behinds every day.’
    • ‘The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track, as you now know, is about as wide as two horses' behinds.’
    • ‘Next to the observatory is a natural slide that so many children's behinds have polished that rock is now as smooth as glass.’
    • ‘The landlords refuse to get off their fat behinds and allow the agents to fix a serious water leakage problem with our air conditioner.’
    • ‘Those with sensitive behinds will even be able to use their mobile phone to ring in advance and warm up their electronically-monitored toilet seat.’
    • ‘It took a good 20 minutes of slithering, most of it on our behinds.’
    • ‘They sat on their civilised behinds and laughed as the frightened face of the woman they'd nicknamed The Pig stared from their screens like a rabbit caught in headlights.’
    • ‘He explains how much beef today comes not from beef cattle bred to fatten beautifully but from dairy-cross cows, which have distinctly bony behinds and are the byproduct of the calving needed to keep dairy cows in milk year on year.’
    • ‘I see guys smacking their girlfriends' behinds at the subway station and on the train.’
    • ‘They have two distinct camel humps of fat on their behinds.’
    • ‘Now you'd be more likely to catch the peace-loving band supporting women's rights than slapping the behinds of onstage dancing girls, who used to form part of their live act.’
    • ‘Brits should be getting their lazy behinds down to the polling stations to cast their votes today.’
    • ‘Voters would like nothing better than to sit on their behinds, live of the wealth created in the past, and to complain about the unfairness of the world all the way down.’
    • ‘And this is why children these days sport Mickeys and Minnies on their tiny little feet and behinds.’
    buttocks, cheeks, hindquarters, haunches, rump, rear end, seat
    View synonyms
  • 2Australian Rules Football
    A one-point score made by kicking the ball between the outer set of two sets of goalposts (the behind line), or by touching the ball, causing it to pass between the inner posts (goalposts).

    • ‘The captain read out the goals and behinds slowly over the PA, apologising that while he knew they were important to many passengers, he had no idea what it meant.’
    • ‘In an amazing hour of football stretching over the first, second and third quarters the two teams combined to kick 16 straight behinds.’
    • ‘They kicked another two behinds to win the match by eight points.’
    • ‘The team's kicking accuracy let them down however, with another four behinds bringing the three quarter time total to ten.’
    • ‘The Roys kicked no goals and 14 behinds to defeat Richmond Union.’


Old English behindan, bihindan, from bi ‘by’ + hindan ‘from behind’.