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

Additionally, under the new rules, travelers flying Delta with emotional support animals now have to sign a voucher before boarding the plane that states their pets can and will behave on the flight. Kelli Bender, PEOPLE.com, "Delta Airlines Bans Pit Bull-Type Service and Emotional Support Dogs from All Flights," 22 June 2018 Why are some mammals so well behaved as members of a society, whereas others cause so much trouble? Tim Vernimmen, Scientific American, "Babysitting Mammals Keep It in the Family," 20 June 2018 Whether this is positioned as minimizing the temptation for boys to behave badly (a.k.a. Philip Galanes, New York Times, "I Know It’s Almost Father’s Day. But, Dad, Can You Not?," 14 June 2018 The boundary-making aims and cast of Pose are proof TV has moved past its obsession with sad white men who behave badly. refinery29.com, "Pose Doesn’t Need Its Donald Trump References," 4 June 2018 These true tales of women behaving badly are the perfect precursors to Ocean's 8 — a little aperitif for the main course. Morgan Baila, refinery29.com, "The Stories Of New York's Glamorous Grifters Are The Perfect Ocean's 8 Pregame," 1 June 2018 Not only did the horses meet neutral behaving humans, but the differences in reaction only applied to the person the horses saw in the photo, and not to strangers. Laura Yan, Popular Mechanics, "Horses Can Read and Remember People's Emotions," 29 Apr. 2018 According to West Allis police, the man was behaving inappropriately with a female employee. Jane Ford-stewart, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Ejected strip-club patron accused of throwing brick through glass in door in West Allis," 13 July 2018 The context: Trump has been quick to defend men in his orbit accused of behaving badly, so this is not a surprise. Amber Phillips, Washington Post, "Jim Jordan has some powerful political defenders amid the Ohio State sexual abuse allegations," 11 July 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

4 Nov 2018

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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Comments on behave

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playful or foolish behavior

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