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

For the same reason, suggestions that Mr Johnson might scupper an extension by threatening to behave badly, refusing to nominate a commissioner or asking a friendly leader to block one, are unlikely to prove correct. The Economist, "Europe ponders how to avoid blame for no-deal," 12 Sep. 2019 Are the laws also the statistically most likely way for black holes to behave? Quanta Magazine, "Are We All Wrong About Black Holes?," 10 Sep. 2019 But beyond that, the conversations and focus have to be on transforming people, encouraging men to behave better and be sorry for bad actions. Sangeeta Tanwar, Quartz India, "A year on, #MeToo has lost momentum in India but we must keep the conversation going," 4 Sep. 2019 Further, guilt is a sign that a person can be empathetic, a trait that is important for one’s ability to take someone else’s perspective, to behave altruistically and to have close, caring relationships. Annette Kämmerer, Scientific American, "The Scientific Underpinnings and Impacts of Shame," 9 Aug. 2019 Instead, people have come and started to behave very badly, often drunk. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Future Graffiti Additions to Prague’s John Lennon Wall Will Be Strictly Regulated," 5 Aug. 2019 Along with learning the twists and turns of their exhibit, the cubs are also learning how to behave at meal times and target training to help with their routine veterinary exams. Kelli Bender, PEOPLE.com, "National Zoo Warmly Welcomes Their First Clouded Leopard Cubs," 11 Sep. 2019 There, college coaches and even pro scouts will take a hard look at how the players behave as members of a team. Mike Nortrup, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Rec Sports Spotlight: Manchester Blue Sox thrive as a ‘winning club’," 31 Aug. 2019 The real shame is that LeBron’s antics could have sparked serious conversation about generational and cultural differences in parenting expectations, about how adults should behave—and often misbehave—at their kids’ games. Jacob Feldman, SI.com, "The Sport of Summer Is Having Downright Despicable Opinions," 9 Aug. 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.

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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

7 Oct 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 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

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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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