9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[bih-haf, -hahf] /bɪˈhæf, -ˈhɑf/
in / on behalf of, as a representative of or a proxy for:
On behalf of my colleagues, I address you tonight.
in / on someone's behalf, in the interest or aid of (someone):
He interceded in my behalf.
Origin of behalf
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English; Middle English bihalve, earlier as adv. and preposition with the sense “near(by),” orig. as prepositional phrase bi halve on one side; see be-, by, half Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for behalf
  • Our students are not wrong in the content of their protests on behalf of education.
  • Begging gestures on behalf of some of the recipients had no effect.
  • Unfortunately, there aren't too many of those on the market so maybe giving to charity on someone's behalf is a good idea.
  • SE employs outside companies to provide marketing services on our behalf.
  • But whatever your take on the policy proposals, it's worth approaching the rosy claims made on its behalf with extreme caution.
  • Our hotel had purchased numerous cameras for the students on our behalf.
  • Its irresponsible to not meet this challenge on behalf of future generations.
  • Efforts on behalf of wildlife are actually bringing positive benefits to local people.
  • They cannot believe in anything-if they did they'd find a way to thin-up in behalf of their cause.
  • So the ministry, which is charged with drafting the reform legislation on behalf of the government, is fighting back.
British Dictionary definitions for behalf


interest, part, benefit, or respect (only in the phrases on (someone's) behalf, on or US and Canadian in behalf of, in this (or that) behalf)
Usage note
On behalf of is sometimes wrongly used where on the part of is intended. The distinction is that on behalf of someone means `for someone's benefit' or `representing someone', while on the part of someone can be roughly paraphrased as `by someone'. So, the following example is incorrect: another act of apparent negligence, this time not on behalf of the company itself, but on behalf of its banker, when what was meant was there was negligence by the company's banker
Word Origin
Old English be halfe from be by + halfe side; compare Old Norse af halfu
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for behalf

c.1300, behalve (with dative suffix), from Old English (him) be healfe "by (his) side," and on (his) healfe "on (his) side," from healfe "side" (see half).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with behalf


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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