A woman teaching her dog to behave.
An example of behave is when you do what you are told at school, using your indoor voice and following all directions.
intransitive verb-·haved′, -·hav′ing
- to conduct (oneself or itself) in a specified way; act or react
- to conduct (oneself) in a correct or proper way
Origin of behavesee be- and have
verbbe·haved, be·hav·ing, be·haves
- a. To conduct oneself in a specified way, especially in relation to others; exhibit behavior: The child behaved badly at the party.b. To conduct oneself in a proper way: I told the child to behave.
- To act, react, function, or perform in a particular way: This fabric behaves well even in hot weather.
- To conduct (oneself) properly: Did you behave yourself at the party?
- To conduct (oneself) in a specified way: The witness behaved herself with great calmness.
Origin of behaveMiddle English behaven be- be- haven to have ; see have .
(third-person singular simple present behaves, present participle behaving, simple past and past participle behaved)
- (reflexive) To conduct (oneself) well, or in a given way.
- You need to behave yourself, young lady.
- (intransitive) To act, conduct oneself in a specific manner; used with an adverbial of manner.
- He behaves like a child whenever she's around.
- How did the students behave while I was gone?
- My laptop has been behaving erratically ever since you borrowed it.
- 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, II.iii:
- who his limbs with labours, and his mind / Behaues with cares, cannot so easie mis.
- (intransitive) To act in a polite or proper way.
- His mother threatened to spank him if he didn't behave.
From Middle English behaven, bihabben (“to restrain, behave”), equivalent to be- + have. Compare Old English behabban (“to include, hold, surround, comprehend, contain, detain, withhold, restrain”), Middle High German behaben (“to hold, take possession of”).