Definition of behavior
1a : the manner of conducting (see 2conduct 4) oneself criminal behavior normal adolescent behaviorb : anything that an organism does involving action and response to stimulationc : the response of an individual, group, or species to its environment They are studying the behavior of elephants in the wild.
2 : 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
3 : the way in which something functions or operates They tested the behavior of various metals under heat and pressure.
behavioralplay \-vyə-rəl\ adjective
behaviorallyplay \-rə-lē\ adverb
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.
Recent Examples of behavior from the Web
The authors conclude that the male baboons’ behavior amounts to sexual intimidation.
This Manichean dichotomy means that there’s no way for any reasonable or tempered debate to emerge over proper behavior or coverage.
The difference does not come from a dramatic turnaround in student behavior at the district’s most troubled schools, but a reporting change that keeps the vast majority of fights out of state records.
Talk to your kids about safe behavior on social media, advises the Federal Trade Commission.
His unhinged and deeply personal attacks yesterday on MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski dovetail with a lifelong pattern of boorish behavior.
A lot of times, Bill had to see … unacceptable behavior.
In the documents, TMG also alleges that Depp sought to cover up the abuse by denying the veracity of a damning text exchange between his assistant and Heard, in which the assistant apologizes to Heard for Depp’s behavior.
His behavior, his motives, and the inner workings of his life are a mystery, left to be pieced together through his art, tabloids, and his erratic public persona and social media identity.
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.
BEHAVIOR Defined for English Language Learners
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
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 Definition of behavior
1: the manner of conducting oneself
2a: anything that an organism does involving action and response to stimulationb: the response of an individual, group, or species to its environment
behavioralor chiefly British
behaviorallyor chiefly British
Seen and Heard
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