Word Origin & History
c.1200, "use, benefit, advantage;" O.E. had bihoflic "useful," implying *bihof "advantage, utility;" from P.Gmc. *bihafjan (cf. O.Fris. bihof, Du. behoef, M.H.G. bihuof, Ger. behuf "benefit, use, advantage"). In the common Germanic compound, the first element is cognate with
and the second with O.E. hof, past tense of hebban "to raise" (see heave
). The original sense is perhaps, then, "taking up (for oneself)."