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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Other Words from behavior

behavioral \ bi-​ˈhā-​vyə-​rəl How to pronounce behavioral (audio) , bē-​ \ adjective
behaviorally \ bi-​ˈhā-​vyə-​rə-​lē How to pronounce behaviorally (audio) , bē-​ \ adverb

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

For example, if a Santa incorrectly accuses a parent of inappropriate behavior, based only on what the little one tells him during their short time together, that actor is putting himself at risk for a lawsuit. Ann Votaw, Marie Claire, "I Went to the Harvard of Santa Schools to Become Mrs. Claus," 20 Dec. 2018 According to the Tennessee code, those credits include recognition for good behavior or participation in educational or vocational training programs. Jameelah Nasheed, Teen Vogue, "Cyntoia Brown Is Facing 51 Years in Prison, So People Are Pressing Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam to Grant Her Clemency," 12 Dec. 2018 In this terrifying new movie, a little boy exhibits disturbing behavior that may be rooted in the supernatural. Molly Fitzpatrick, Marie Claire, "Taylor Schilling On What Scares Her—On and Off The Screen," 22 Jan. 2019 Learning how to notice these signs is key in preventing an outburst or regrettable behavior. Colleen Stinchcombe, Woman's Day, "How to Deal With Anger in a Healthy Way," 18 Jan. 2019 The behavior remains consistent when R. Kelly would allegedly frequent Kentwood High School in Chicago and nearby basketball courts and fast food restaurants where young girls worked, according to the docuseries. Morgan Jerkins, Teen Vogue, "R. Kelly and Other Powerful Men Have Always Manipulated Their Teen Fans," 9 Jan. 2019 While the rich are getting better at adopting the lifestyle behaviors that lower their cancer risk, the poor lag behind. Julia Belluz, Vox, "We’re making real progress against cancer. But you may not know it if you’re poor.," 8 Jan. 2019 Humankind could at last understand the entirety of the universe’s behavior. Adam Hadhazy, Discover Magazine, "Scientists Hunt for A Seeming Paradox: A Magnet With Only One Pole," 13 Nov. 2018 Of course, because of the nature of the data provided to the researchers to work with, there wasn't really any way to see if that sort of behavior happened on other social media platforms. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "Massive scale of Russian election trolling revealed in draft Senate report," 17 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

26 Feb 2019

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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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