behavior

noun be·hav·ior \ bi-ˈhā-vyər , bē- \
Updated on: 18 Nov 2017

Definition of behavior

1 :the way in which someone conducts oneself or behaves (see behave 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
2 a :the manner of conducting (see 2conduct 4) 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.

behavioral

play \-vyə-rəl\ adjective

behaviorally

play \-rə-lē\ adverb

Examples of behavior in a Sentence

  1. I'm surprised by her bad behavior toward her friends.

  2. Students will be rewarded for good behavior.

  3. scientists studying the behavior of elephants

  4. An acceptable social behavior in one country may be unacceptable in another country.

  5. Doctors are trying to educate people about behaviors that can put them at increased risk for skin cancer.

  6. The experiment tested the behavior of various metals under heat and pressure.

Recent Examples of behavior from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of behavior

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



BEHAVIOR Defined for English Language Learners

behavior

noun

Definition of behavior for English Language Learners

  • : the way a person or animal acts or behaves

  • : the way something (such as a machine or substance) moves, functions, or reacts


BEHAVIOR Defined for Kids

behavior

noun be·hav·ior \ bi-ˈhāv-yər \

Definition of behavior for Students

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.

Medical Dictionary

behavior

noun be·hav·ior
variants: or chiefly British behaviour play \bi-ˈhā-vyər\

medical Definition of behavior

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

behavioral

or chiefly British behavioural play \-vyə-rəl\ adjective

behaviorally

or chiefly British behaviourally play \-rə-lē\ adverb


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