behave

play
verb be·have \ bi-ˈhāv , bē- \

Definition of behave

behaved; behaving
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.

behaver

noun

Examples of behave in a Sentence

  1. If you can't behave in the store we'll have to leave.

  2. If you can't behave yourself in the store we'll have to leave.

  3. I wish those children would behave themselves.

  4. He behaves like a child!

  5. The experiment tested how various metals behave under heat and pressure.

Recent Examples of behave from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of behave

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

Synonym Discussion of 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

BEHAVE Defined for English Language Learners

behave

play
verb

Definition of behave for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

behave

play
verb be·have \ bi-ˈhāv \

Definition of behave for Students

behaved; behaving
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.

Medical Dictionary

behave

play
verb be·have \ bi-ˈhāv \

medical Definition of behave

behaved; behaving
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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