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

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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 The European Union has already filed antitrust charges, finding Apple’s App Store behavior anti-competitive in a Spotify case. Chris Smith, BGR, "Here’s why Apple shouldn’t let developers have their own app stores," 2 May 2021 Such behavior is normally frowned upon, no matter how reasonable the cause. Los Angeles Times, "As we return to normal, a new plague: stage fright in the theater of daily life," 2 May 2021 Alongside him was his wife, who claimed to have worked in the mayor’s office before her retirement without noticing suspicious behavior. Washington Post, "A French mayor was convicted of rape. He's running his town from prison.," 1 May 2021 In recent decades, laws have often helped keep aggressive behavior at bay, preventing poll watchers from getting too close to voters or election officials, and maintaining a relatively low threshold for expelling anyone who misbehaves. New York Times, "G.O.P. Seeks to Empower Poll Watchers, Raising Intimidation Worries," 1 May 2021 And the detective remembers noticing something odd about Scott's behavior. Jonathan Vigliotti, CBS News, "Will Scott Peterson, convicted of killing wife Laci and unborn child, get a new trial?," 1 May 2021 In recent decades, laws have often helped keep aggressive behavior at bay, preventing poll watchers from getting too close to voters or election officials and maintaining a relatively low threshold for expelling anyone who misbehaves. BostonGlobe.com, "GOP seeks to empower poll watchers, raising intimidation worries," 1 May 2021 More than 63,000 inmates convicted of violent crimes will be eligible for good behavior credits that shorten their sentences by one-third instead of the one-fifth that had been in place since 2017. NBC News, "76,000 California inmates to be eligible for earlier release," 1 May 2021 California has increased early release credits for some 76,000 inmates throughout the state to incentivize good behavior and participation in rehabilitation programs. Marlene Lenthang, ABC News, "76,000 California inmates eligible for early release with increased good behavior credits," 1 May 2021

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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Time Traveler for behavior

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for behavior

Last Updated

5 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Behavior.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/behavior. Accessed 15 May. 2021.

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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 behavior (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 behavior (audio) \ adjective
behaviorally or chiefly British behaviourally \ -​rə-​lē How to pronounce behavior (audio) \ adverb

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