American English

Definition of behind preposition from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1at or toward the back of someone or something, and often hidden by it or them Who's the girl standing behind Jan? Stay close behind me. a small street behind the station She glanced behind her. Don't forget to lock the door behind you (= when you leave). The sun disappeared behind the clouds. compare in front of Which Word?the back / the rear / behind The back and the rear have a similar meaning, but the rear is used more in formal or official language:What's that in the back of the fridge? The exits are located at the rear of the aircraft.It is usual to talk about the back door of a house, but the rear exit of an aircraft or a public building. If something is behind something else, it is near to the back of it but not part of it. Compare:Our room was at the back of the hotelandThere’s a pretty little pond just behind our hotel.
  2. 2making less progress than someone or something He's behind the rest of the class in reading. We're behind schedule (= late).
  3. 3giving support to, or approval of, someone or something She knew that, whatever she decided, her family was right behind her.
  4. 4responsible for starting or developing something What's behind that happy smile (= what is causing it)? He was the man behind the plan to build a new hospital.
  5. 5used to say that something is in someone's past The accident is behind you now, so try to forget it. She has ten years of useful experience behind her.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: behind