behavior

noun
be·​hav·​ior | \bi-ˈhā-vyər, 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, bē-​ \ adjective
behaviorally \bi-​ˈhā-​vyə-​rə-​lē, 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

Facebook has developed something of a pattern on apologizing for past behavior but struggling to address the underlying issues. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Facebook will meet with one of the groups it targeted with Soros opposition research," 27 Nov. 2018 Failing to account for that behavior has meant that estimates of the genetic contribution to longevity have been substantially overinflated. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "Genetics play less of a role in lifespan than we thought," 8 Nov. 2018 Gab has been a haven for racists and anti-Semites who have been banned from Twitter for hateful and harassing behavior. Michael Kunzelman, The Seattle Times, "Website used by suspect in synagogue massacre is back online," 7 Nov. 2018 Schools should also clearly define unacceptable student behavior, including threatening or engaging in violence, bullying and harassing others. NBC News, "It's not 'snitching': Secret Service says students can help prevent gun violence," 11 July 2018 While alerts about suspicious actions may not stop illicit deliveries at the time, those reports could be used to show a pattern of inappropriate behavior. Benoit Faucon, WSJ, "Satellites, Big Data Help U.S. Spy on Smugglers of Iranian Oil," 1 Nov. 2018 Hans-Ulrich Auster, a researcher at TU-Braunschweig, said magnetometer measurements indicated that the asteroid has a weak magnetic field and MASCOT's landing behavior offered clues about the stiffness of the asteroid. Megan Gannon, Space.com, "'Crazy' Rocky Surface of Asteroid Ryugu Revealed in MASCOT Lander Images," 13 Oct. 2018 These programs, like Safe2Tell Colorado (safe2tell.org), are basically online tip lines that give students, parents, schools, and communities a way to anonymously report threatening behavior or safety concerns. As Told To Beth Dreher And Elissa Sanci, Woman's Day, "How to Keep Our Kids Safe in School as the Gun Debate Rages On," 25 Sep. 2018 The slime molds had gone back to their original behavior. Katia Moskvitch, WIRED, "Slime Molds Remember—But Do They Learn?," 14 July 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

3 Dec 2018

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 \

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 \

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 \ adjective
behaviorally or chiefly British behaviourally \-​rə-​lē \ 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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