behavior

noun
be·​hav·​ior | \ bi-ˈhā-vyər How to pronounce behavior (audio) , bē-\

Definition of behavior

1 : the way in which someone conducts oneself or behaves (see behave sense 1) We were grateful for the gracious behavior of our hostess. The children were rewarded for good behavior. Be on your best behavior. also : an instance of such behavior unacceptable social behaviors
2a : the manner of conducting (see conduct entry 1 sense 2) oneself criminal behavior normal adolescent behavior
b : anything that an organism does involving action and response to stimulation
c : the response of an individual, group, or species to its environment They are studying the behavior of elephants in the wild.
3 : the way in which something functions or operates They tested the behavior of various metals under heat and pressure.

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Synonyms for behavior

Synonyms

actions, address, bearing, comportment, conduct, demeanor, deportment, geste (also gest) [archaic]

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Examples of behavior in a Sentence

I'm surprised by her bad behavior toward her friends. Students will be rewarded for good behavior. scientists studying the behavior of elephants An acceptable social behavior in one country may be unacceptable in another country. Doctors are trying to educate people about behaviors that can put them at increased risk for skin cancer. The experiment tested the behavior of various metals under heat and pressure.
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Recent Examples on the Web

This brings us to episode 5, in which Dany just gives up on being anything but the Mad Queen, perfectly mirroring the behavior that earned her father his reputation as the Mad King. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Every Clue That Daenerys Targaryen Was Always Destined to Become the Mad Queen in 'Game of Thrones'," 13 May 2019 The algorithms take the results from all product searches for the past several weeks and analyze buyer behaviors. Sara Castellanos, WSJ, "Etsy Taps Google Cloud to Improve Search, Juicing Sales," 13 May 2019 The move to extract one of the world’s most high-profile fugitives came about relatively quickly after years of what officials portrayed as obnoxious and ungracious behavior by their houseguest. Joshua Goodman, The Seattle Times, "After 7 long years, Assange’s capture happened quickly," 16 Apr. 2019 Netflix has said in the past that the overwhelming majority of its views come from people watching on connected TVs, and Jumpshot’s data doesn’t measure that behavior. Rani Molla, Recode, "Here are some of the most popular shows on Netflix — which may be leaving Netflix soon," 21 Dec. 2018 The Mercedes-Benz E-class, however, is adept at nearly every facet of automotive behavior. Car and Driver, "2019 10Best Cars," 28 Nov. 2018 And why do some, not all, mirror the behavior of their opposites? Taylor Antrim, Vogue, "Does Jordan Peele’s Us Live Up to Get Out?," 21 Mar. 2019 That means noticing behavior that's out of the norm. Alexandra Gekas, Woman's Day, "9 Things Your Dog Is Trying to Tell You, According to Experts," 25 Feb. 2019 He and Rodriguez-Rodriguez study the behavior of various fluids (including paints), and carbonation is a particularly fascinating topic within that discipline. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "The secret to champagne’s universal appeal is the physics of bubbles," 31 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'behavior.' 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 behavior

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

History and Etymology for behavior

alteration of Middle English behavour, from behaven "to behave" + -our -or entry 2

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Statistics for behavior

Last Updated

21 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for behavior

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

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More Definitions for behavior

behavior

noun

English Language Learners Definition of behavior

: the way a person or animal acts or behaves
: the way something (such as a machine or substance) moves, functions, or reacts

behavior

noun
be·​hav·​ior | \ bi-ˈhāv-yər How to pronounce behavior (audio) \

Kids Definition of behavior

1 : the manner in which a person acts Students are rewarded for good behavior.
2 : the whole activity of something and especially a living being Scientists observed the elephant's behavior.

behavior

noun
be·​hav·​ior
variants: or chiefly British behaviour \ bi-​ˈhā-​vyər How to pronounce behaviour (audio) \

Medical Definition of behavior

1 : the manner of conducting oneself
2a : anything that an organism does involving action and response to stimulation
b : the response of an individual, group, or species to its environment

Other Words from behavior

behavioral or chiefly British behavioural \ -​vyə-​rəl How to pronounce behavioural (audio) \ adjective
behaviorally or chiefly British behaviourally \ -​rə-​lē How to pronounce behaviourally (audio) \ adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on behavior

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for behavior

Spanish Central: Translation of behavior

Nglish: Translation of behavior for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of behavior for Arabic Speakers

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