Synonyms & Antonyms of behave

to manage the actions of (oneself) in a particular way
  • if the children behave themselves properly and sit quietly during church, they'll get their ice cream afterward

Synonyms for behave

Words Related to behave

Near Antonyms for behave

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Frequently Asked Questions About behave

How does the verb behave differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of behave are acquit, comport, conduct, and deport. While all these words mean "to act or to cause oneself to do something in a certain way," behave may apply to the meeting of a standard of what is proper or decorous.

the children behaved in church

When can acquit be used instead of behave?

The words acquit and behave are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, acquit applies to action under stress that deserves praise or meets expectations.

acquitted herself well in her first assignment

When might comport be a better fit than behave?

The synonyms comport and behave are sometimes interchangeable, but comport suggests conduct measured by what is expected or required of one in a certain class or position.

comported themselves as gentlemen

When is conduct a more appropriate choice than behave?

The words conduct and behave can be used in similar contexts, but conduct implies action or behavior that shows the extent of one's power to control or direct oneself.

conducted herself with unfailing good humor

When would deport be a good substitute for behave?

In some situations, the words deport and behave are roughly equivalent. However, deport implies behaving so as to show how far one conforms to conventional rules of discipline or propriety.

the hero deported himself in accord with the code of chivalry

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Time Traveler for behave

Time Traveler

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

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Thesaurus Entries Near behave




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Cite this Entry

“Behave.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on behave

Nglish: Translation of behave for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of behave for Arabic Speakers


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