Behind vs Off - What's the difference?

behind | off |

As prepositions the difference between behind and off

is that behind is at the back of while off is (used to indicate movement away from a position on).

As adverbs the difference between behind and off

is that behind is at the back part; in the rear while off is in a direction away from the speaker or object.

As a noun behind

is the rear, back-end.

As an adjective off is

inoperative, disabled.

As a verb off is

(slang) to kill.




(English prepositions)
  • At the back of.
  • *
  • *:But then I had the [massive] flintlock by me for protection. ¶, and a 'bead' could be drawn upon Molly, the dairymaid, kissing the fogger behind the hedge, little dreaming that the deadly tube was levelled at them.
  • *{{quote-magazine, date=2013-07-19, author=(Timothy Garton Ash)
  • , volume=189, issue=6, page=18, magazine=(The Guardian Weekly) , title= Where Dr Pangloss meets Machiavelli , passage=Hidden behind thickets of acronyms and gorse bushes of detail, a new great game is under way across the globe. Some call it geoeconomics, but it's geopolitics too. The current power play consists of an extraordinary range of countries simultaneously sitting down to negotiate big free trade and investment agreements.}}
  • To the back of.
  • After, time- or motion-wise.
  • *1883 , (Robert Louis Stevenson), (Treasure Island)
  • *:About the center, and a good way behind the rest, Silver and I followed - I tethered by my rope.
  • Responsible for.
  • In support of.
  • :
  • Left a distance by, in progress or improvement; inferior to.
  • :
  • *Bible, xi.5:
  • *:I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.
  • Synonyms

    * in back of * to the rear of


    (en adverb)
  • At the back part; in the rear.
  • * Milton
  • I shall not lag behind .
  • Toward the back part or rear; backward.
  • to look behind
  • Overdue, in arrears.
  • My employer is two paychecks behind on paying my salary.
    I'm two weeks behind in my schedule.
  • Slow; of a watch or clock.
  • ''My watch is four minutes behind .
  • existing afterwards
  • He left behind a legacy of death and sorrow.
    He stayed behind after the war.
  • * Shakespeare
  • Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, / And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, / Leave not a rack behind .
  • Backward in time or order of succession; past.
  • * Bible, Phil. ii. 13
  • forgetting those things which are behind
  • Behind the scenes in a theatre; backstage.
  • * 1890 , (Oscar Wilde), The Picture of Dorian Gray , Vintage 2007, p. 68:
  • ‘After the performance was over I went behind , and spoke to her.’
  • (archaic) Not yet brought forward, produced, or exhibited to view; out of sight; remaining.
  • * John Locke
  • We cannot be sure that there is no evidence behind .

    Usage notes

    For usage in phrasal verbs, see Category: English phrasal verbs with particle "behind": .


    (en noun)
  • the rear, back-end
  • butt, the buttocks, bottom
  • (Australian rules football) A one-point score.
  • * 1880 . "The Opening Ball" in Comic Australian Verse'', ed. G. Lehmann, 1975. Quoted in G. A. Wilkes, ''A Dictionary of Australian Colloquialisms , second edition, 1985, (Sydney University Press), ISBN 0-424-00113-6.
  • A roar from ten thousand throats go up,
    For we've kicked another behind.
  • The catcher.
  • In the Eton College field game, any of a group of players consisting of two "shorts" (who try to kick the ball over the bully) and a "long" (who defends the goal).
  • Derived terms

    * behind bars * behind closed doors * behind in the count * behind somebody's back * behind the arc * behind the bit * behind the counter * behind the eight-ball * behind the scenes * behind the wheel * behindhand * caught behind * come from behind * drop behind * fall behind * get behind * hiney * leave behind * rushed behind * stay behind * wet behind the ears




    * Andrea Tyler and Vyvyan Evans, "Spatial particles of orientation", in The Semantics of English Prepositions: Spatial Scenes, Embodied Meaning and Cognition , Cambridge University Press, 2003, 0-521-81430 8




    (en adverb)
  • In a direction away from the speaker or object.
  • *
  • , title=(The Celebrity), chapter=4 , passage=No matter how early I came down, I would find him on the veranda, smoking cigarettes, or
  • Into a state of non-operation; into a state of non-existence.
  • Usage notes

    * Used in many , off'' is an adverbial particle often mistakenly thought of as a preposition. (It ''can be used as a preposition, but such usage is rare and usually informal; see below.)


    * away, out


    * on, in

    Derived terms

    * back off * bite off * break off * bring off * call off * clean off * cut off, cutoff * die off * drop off * fall off * fuck off * get off * go off * goof off * hold off * keep off * kick off, kickoff * knock off * lay off, layoff * leave off * let off * light off * live off * make off * make off with * nod off * pay off, payoff * piss off * pull off * put off * ring off * rip off, ripoff * round off * run off, runoff * see off * set off * show off, showoff * sleep off * shake off * switch off * take off * tell off * tick off * turn off, turnoff * walk it off * wear off


    (en adjective)
  • Inoperative, disabled.
  • :All the lights are off .
  • Rancid, rotten.
  • :This milk is off !
  • (cricket) In, or towards the half of the field away from the batsman's legs; the right side for a right-handed batsman.
  • Less than normal, in temperament or in result.
  • :sales are off this quarter
  • Circumstanced (as in well off'', ''better off'', ''poorly off ).
  • *
  • Started on the way.
  • :off to see the wizard
  • :And they're off ! Whatsmyname takes an early lead, with Remember The Mane behind by a nose.
  • *
  • Far; off to the side.
  • :the off horse or ox in a team, in distinction from the nigh or near horse
  • *
  • *:So this was my future home, I thought!Backed by towering hills, the but faintly discernible purple line of the French boundary off to the southwest, a sky of palest Gobelin flecked with fat, fleecy little clouds, it in truth looked a dear little city; the city of one's dreams.
  • *1937 , (Zora Neale Hurston), Their Eyes Were Watching God , Harper Perennial (2000), p.151:
  • *:He came in, took a look and squinched down into a chair in an off corner and didn’t open his mouth.
  • Designating a time when one is not strictly attentive to business or affairs, or is absent from a post, and, hence, a time when affairs are not urgent.
  • :He took an off''' day for fishing.  an '''off''' year in politics; the '''off season
  • Antonyms

    * (inoperative) on * (rotten) fresh * (cricket) on, leg

    Derived terms

    * off to the races


    (English prepositions)
  • (Used to indicate movement away from a position on)
  • I took it off''' the table.''; ''Come '''off the roof!
  • (colloquial) Out of the possession of.
  • He didn't buy it off''' him. He stole it '''off him.
  • Away from or not on.
  • He's off''' the computer, but he's still on the phone.''; ''Keep '''off the grass.
  • Disconnected or subtracted from.
  • We've been off''' the grid for three days now.''; ''He took 20% '''off the list price.
  • Distant from.
  • We're just off''' the main road.''; ''The island is 23 miles ' off the cape.
  • No longer wanting or taking.
  • He's been off''' his feed since Tuesday.''; ''He's '''off his meds again.
  • Tantalum bar 6 off 3/8" Dia × 12" — Atom, Great Britain Atomic Energy Authority, 1972
    samples submitted … 12 off Thermistors type 1K3A531 … — BSI test report for shock and vibration testing, 2000
    I'd like to re-order those printer cartridges, let's say 5-off .



    Derived terms

    * off-campus * off one's feed


    (en verb)
  • (slang) To kill.
  • He got in the way so I had him offed .
  • (Singapore) To switch off.
  • Can you off the light?

    Derived terms

    * off-licence, off-license, offie, offy