behave

verb
be·​have | \ bi-ˈhāv How to pronounce behave (audio) , bē- \
behaved; behaving

Definition of behave

transitive verb

1 : to manage the actions of (oneself) in a particular way
2 : to conduct (oneself) in a proper manner getting children to behave themselves

intransitive verb

1 : to act, function, or react in a particular way He behaves like a child. testing how various metals behave under heat and pressure
2 : to conduct oneself properly Please behave.

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Other Words from behave

behaver noun

Choose the Right Synonym for behave

behave, conduct, deport, comport, acquit mean to act or to cause oneself to do something in a certain way. behave may apply to the meeting of a standard of what is proper or decorous. the children behaved in church conduct implies action or behavior that shows the extent of one's power to control or direct oneself. conducted herself with unfailing good humor deport implies behaving so as to show how far one conforms to conventional rules of discipline or propriety. the hero deported himself in accord with the code of chivalry comport suggests conduct measured by what is expected or required of one in a certain class or position. comported themselves as gentlemen acquit applies to action under stress that deserves praise or meets expectations. acquitted herself well in her first assignment

Examples of behave in a Sentence

If you can't behave in the store we'll have to leave. If you can't behave yourself in the store we'll have to leave. I wish those children would behave themselves. He behaves like a child! The experiment tested how various metals behave under heat and pressure.
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Recent Examples on the Web Those differences account for how people behave in the aftermath of complex events and traumas, Keltner says. BostonGlobe.com, "A post-pandemic ‘Roaring 2020s’? Social scientists anticipate parties and excess as restrictions ease," 27 Mar. 2021 Accept that people behave according to their character. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for Dec. 23, 2020: Libra, honor your commitments; Aquarius, touch base with bosses," 23 Dec. 2020 The fact that political leaders will continue to have a say in how people behave does not help. Carolyn Kormann, The New Yorker, "What Will Cold-and-Flu Season Mean for the Coronavirus Pandemic?," 1 Oct. 2020 How politicians talk affects how people behave – and the amount of violence their nations experience. James Piazza, The Conversation, "When politicians use hate speech, political violence increases," 28 Sep. 2020 However, this type of cell phone data can help agencies know how people behave as a storm approaches, perhaps giving them an opportunity to adjust their own approaches to evacuation orders, says Long. Ula Chrobak, Popular Science, "Political rhetoric may impact your hurricane preparedness," 11 Sep. 2020 The pandemic has altered how people behave and likely will continue to do so. Michael Smolens Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Reports on the death of cities maybe premature," 30 Aug. 2020 But in other ways, the messages for how people should behave in a fire compared to a pandemic are conflicting, and that can make the jobs of health officials more difficult. Erin Allday, SFChronicle.com, "Coronavirus, wildfires combine to create a Bay Area respiratory catastrophe," 21 Aug. 2020 Some people with brain disorders or disease behave aggressively and rudely; dementia does not always manifest with forgetfulness. Amy Dickinson, The Denver Post, "Ask Amy: Father-in-law’s rudeness might be medical," 24 July 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'behave.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of behave

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for behave

Middle English behaven, from be- be- + haven "to have entry 1, hold"

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Time Traveler for behave

Time Traveler

The first known use of behave was in the 15th century

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Statistics for behave

Last Updated

4 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Behave.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/behave. Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for behave

behave

verb

English Language Learners Definition of behave

: to act in an acceptable way : to act properly
: to act in a particular way
of a thing : to function, react, or move in a particular way

behave

verb
be·​have | \ bi-ˈhāv How to pronounce behave (audio) \
behaved; behaving

Kids Definition of behave

1 : to act in a particular manner The children behaved well at the party.
2 : to act in a proper or acceptable way Tell them to behave.
3 : to act or function in a particular way We're studying how metals behave under pressure.

behave

verb
be·​have | \ bi-ˈhāv How to pronounce behave (audio) \
behaved; behaving

Medical Definition of behave

transitive verb

: to bear or conduct (oneself) in a particular way

intransitive verb

: to act, function, or react in a particular way

Comments on behave

What made you want to look up behave? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

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