be·​hav·​ior·​al | \ bi-ˈhā-vyə-rəl How to pronounce behavioral (audio) , bē-\

Definition of behavioral

1 : of or relating to behavior : pertaining to reactions made in response to social stimuli behavioral problems behavioral similarities Half of all potential guide dogs don't get final clearance because of medical or behavioral issues.— Cassie Kreitner
2 : relating to or concerned with the social, psychological, and emotional factors that affect financial decisions and behavior behavioral economics Behavioral finance … holds that financial man—far from the perfect, mechanical trader depicted in textbooks—is a rather neurotic fellow. He follows the crowd, fails to plan ahead and often makes mistakes.— Roger Lowenstein

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Other Words from behavioral

behaviorally \ bi-​ˈhā-​vyə-​rə-​lē How to pronounce behaviorally (audio) , bē-​ \ adverb
… gradually came to the conclusion that the wild dogs are physically and behaviorally distinct enough to constitute a uniform breed. — Christine Mlot

Examples of behavioral in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Marina Hinestrosa, a Santa Clara County spokeswoman, said young offenders leave with a transition plan that includes behavioral services. Judy Ly, The Mercury News, "Advocates push hard for mental-health emphasis for juvenile offenders," 22 June 2019 Officials say youth and young adults can visit one of Kentucky’s 20 drop-in sites to access behavioral health services. USA TODAY, "Arthur Ashe, missing Marilyn, pacifier-eating pup: News from around our 50 states," 21 June 2019 An extra $148 million would go to hospitals that serve large numbers of poor people and providers would receive $24.6 million more through higher reimbursements to help cover mental health, behavioral health and psychiatric services. Molly Beck, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Lawmakers set to take up an $81.5 billion state budget that puts a Republican spin on Evers' vision," 17 June 2019 No one disputes the need for more care: The Department of Public Health spends about $400 million a year on behavioral health services, from crisis-care units to substance-abuse-treatment programs. Trisha Thadani,, "Free mental health care for all San Franciscans? Politicians debate its feasibility," 11 June 2019 Funded programs also will help transitional age homeless youths, people with substance abuse issues or those who have behavioral health problems. Gary Warth, San Diego Union-Tribune, "$8 million allocated for homeless programs countywide," 27 June 2019 Both parents said they were called frequently by Anderson-Harper saying their son was having behavioral problems ⁠— that the family said was consistent with his diagnosis. Meredith Colias-pete, Post-Tribune, "'I wanted to turn over the table': Gary parents speak out after their autistic son was dubbed 'most annoying' at school," 13 June 2019 Doctors urged parents to send away children who showed any signs of mental disabilities, often resulting in institutionalization of those who merely had behavioral problems or tested poorly in school. Ysabelle Kempe,, "High school class uncovers identities of those in cemetery for disabled," 12 June 2019 In addition to academic achievement, researchers found that children who took a mid-day nap also tended to be happier and suffer from less behavioral problems. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, "Science Says Middle School Children Should Consider Taking Daily Naps," 11 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'behavioral.' 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 behavioral

1919, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for behavioral

Last Updated

18 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for behavioral

The first known use of behavioral was in 1919

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More from Merriam-Webster on behavioral

Nglish: Translation of behavioral for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of behavioral for Arabic Speakers

Comments on behavioral

What made you want to look up behavioral? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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