behave

verb
be·​have | \ bi-ˈhāv , 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

Soaring to Sirius The next set of missions, called Sirius, will examine how people behave in microgravity, Voloshin said. Elizabeth Howell, Space.com, "Touring Where the Mars-500 'Astronauts' Pretended to Take a Red Planet Journey," 11 July 2018 But who first looked up at the sky to make sense of what was happening down on the ground and why their fellow humans were behaving in certain ways? Olivia B. Waxman, Time, "Where Do Zodiac Signs Come From? Here's the True History Behind Your Horoscope," 21 June 2018 In front of rolling cameras, the two got to bond over an incident involving a badly behaved, very intrusive umbrella—which, of course, turned into 2019's first great meme. Krystin Arneson, Glamour, "Chrissy Teigen Got Hit in the Face by an Umbrella on Live TV, and Obviously It Became a Meme," 1 Jan. 2019 And does this make sense, would a character actually behave this way? Megan Stein, Country Living, "'Last Man Standing' Star Nancy Travis on What It's Really Like Working With Tim Allen," 29 Dec. 2018 Just like Yellowstone's wildlife and majestic scenery, tourists behaving badly have become a target for cameras. Fox News, "Yellowstone tourist ticketed for walking too close, appearing to urinate on Old Faithful," 18 Sep. 2018 Just like Yellowstone’s wildlife and majestic scenery, tourists behaving badly have become a target for cameras. Mead Gruver, The Seattle Times, "Man who walked near boiling-hot Old Faithful geyser ticketed," 17 Sep. 2018 In society, there is a social structure of how genders should behave. Temi Adebowale, Seventeen, "'Drag Race' Queen Yuhua Hamasaki On Why Coming Out Isn't One-Size-Fits-All," 21 June 2018 Her story: As depicted by James Whitcomb Riley, Greenfield, Ind., youngster Annie told cautionary tales about what happens to children who don't behave. David Lindquist, Indianapolis Star, "The end of ‘The Middle’ and 20 fictional characters who put Indiana on the map," 22 May 2018

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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Statistics for behave

Last Updated

11 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for behave

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

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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 \
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 \
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

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More from Merriam-Webster on behave

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with behave

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for behave

Spanish Central: Translation of behave

Nglish: Translation of behave for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of behave for Arabic Speakers

Comments on behave

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