a command or directive.
an earnest or strongly worded request.
Contemporary Examples

Jackson declined to comment on the case, saying it was at the behest of his lawyer.
Prof: MIT Hospitalized Me For Ferguson Tweets Nina Strochlic December 10, 2014

Or the time he ran and hid—at his mother’s behest—during the Battle of the Blackwater.
Game of Thrones’ ‘The Lion and the Rose’: Joffrey’s Demented, Shocking Royal Wedding Andrew Romano April 13, 2014

I agreed to meet him at the behest of a mutual friend, though I was hesitant.
Thank You For Your Service: Remembering Michael Hastings Daniel L. Davis July 3, 2013

The first is whether or not to resume peace talks with the Israelis, at the behest of American Secretary of State John Kerry.
New Palestinian PM Faces Old Challenges Ali Gharib June 2, 2013

She was also a good delegator; there were lots of other people doing things at her behest.
Pippa Middleton, the Royal Wedding’s Other Star Tom Sykes April 28, 2011

Historical Examples

Dinah was not loth to obey this behest, being terribly anxious to know what was happening around them.
The Sign Of The Red Cross Evelyn Everett-Green

To have died at your behest at the instant would have been as nothing.
The Fixed Period Anthony Trollope

Providence has thrown him into my hands, and enabled me to obey her behest.
Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 60, No. 370, August 1846 Various

He did spontaneously the things that lesser men do at behest of their press-agents.
The Orchard of Tears Sax Rohmer

Sabitri, in obedience to her esteemed father’s behest, thus spoke in a tone becoming her age and sex.
The Hindoos as they Are Shib Chunder Bose

an authoritative order or earnest request

Old English behæs “a vow,” perhaps from behatan “to promise” (from be- + hatan “command, call;” see cite) and confused with obsolete hest “command,” which may account for the parasitic -t as well as the Middle English shift in meaning to “command, injunction” (late 12c.).


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