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.

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Why would the same fault behave differently in different regions? The Conversation, oregonlive.com, "Earthquake risk along NW coast is not the same for all areas," 8 July 2019 Before a sellout crowd of 59,659 at Olympic Stadium that included supporters from Britain, Beantown and the Big Apple plus royalty, batters behaved like good tourists and minded the gaps — and the fences. Author: Ronald Blum, Anchorage Daily News, "Ye Olde Slugfest: Yanks top Red Sox 17-13 in MLB Euro debut," 30 June 2019 Before a sellout crowd of 59,659 at Olympic Stadium that included fans from Britain, Beantown and the Big Apple plus royalty, batters behaved like good tourists and minded the gaps — and the fences. Ronald Blum, The Denver Post, "Ye Olde Slugfest: Yanks top Red Sox 17-13 in MLB Euro debut," 29 June 2019 The researchers will look at how pH levels affect the way fish behave, interact, and respond to olfactory cues. Elizabeth Preston, Science | AAAS, "A growing sensory smog threatens the ability of fish to communicate, navigate, and survive," 20 June 2019 Other organizations in the Biden universe behave similarly, expending much of their income on staff salaries and little on their ostensible function. Andrew Cockburn, Harper's magazine, "No Joe!," 10 June 2019 Once installed, the apps initially behaved normally. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "238 Google Play apps with >440 million installs made phones nearly unusable," 4 June 2019 This president behaves with too little, this prime minister too much, restraint. Martin Farr, Quartz, "Donald Trump’s state visit is a sorry sign of the times for the UK," 4 June 2019 Experts used engineering technologies to assess how different parts of the church would behave during seismic events, and then came up with a retrofitting plan. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Pioneering Conservation Project Saves Earthquake-Damaged Peruvian Church," 28 June 2019

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.

See More

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"

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about behave

Statistics for behave

Last Updated

15 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for behave

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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

WORD OF THE DAY

characterized by aphorism

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!