A child exhibiting bad behavior.
- A child throwing a tantrum is an example of bad behavior.
- The actions of chimps studied by scientists are an example of behaviors.
The definition of behavior is the way a person or thing acts or reacts.
- the way a person behaves or acts; conduct; manners
- an organism's responses to stimulation or environment, esp. those responses that can be observed
- an instance of behavior; specif., one of a recurring or characteristic pattern of observable actions or responses
- the way a machine, element, etc. acts or functions
Origin of behaviorfrom behave by analogy with Middle English havior, property from Old French aveir from avoir, to have
- The manner in which one acts or behaves.
- a. The actions or reactions of a person or animal in response to external or internal stimuli.b. One of these actions or reactions: “a hormone … known to directly control sex-specific reproductive and parenting behaviors in a wide variety of vertebrates” ( Thomas Maugh II )
- The manner in which something functions or operates: the faulty behavior of a computer program; the behavior of dying stars.
Origin of behaviorMiddle English behavour from behaven to behave ( on the model of havour behavior ) ( from Old French avoir ) ( from avoir to have ); see behave .
aberrance, aberrancy the condition or state of being deviant or aberrant. abnormalism 1. having a tendency towards, or being in a state of abnormality. 2. something that is abnormal. abnormalist a person who is characterized as being in some way abnormal. adventurism impulsive, rash, or irresponsible actions or attitudes, especially in the sphere of public life. —adventurist, n. —adventuristic, adj. alarmism the attitudes and behavior of one who exaggerates dangers or always expects disaster. —alarmist, n. alogy Obsolete, illogicality, unreasonableness. —alogic, alogical, adj. amazonism the taking on of masculine habits and occupations by women. Arcadianism the dress and conduct suitable to a pastoral existence, usually with reference to the idealized description of pastoral life in literature. —Arcadian, n., adj. arrivism 1. the state of having recently achieved wealth or position, especially by unscrupulous or unethical means. 2. behavior typical of arrivism. —arriviste, n., adj. asceticism a severe self-deprivation for ethical, religious, or intellectual ends. —ascetic, n., adj. atrabilarian 1. a sad and gloomy individual. 2. an irritable and bad-tempered person. —atrabilious, adj. attitudinarianism the practice of striking poses, either to mask or to express personal feelings. —attitudinarian, n. attorneyism the characteristics attributed to attorneys; slyness; unscrupulousness. automatism an automatic or involuntary action. —automatist, n. autophoby Rare. an abnormal fear of being egotistical, of referring to oneself. babuism, babooism Derogatory. the practices of Hindus who had only a slight English education. From bābū, a Hindi title equivalent to Sir or Mr. Barnumism showmanship or any activity taking advantage of people’s credulity or desire for sensational entertainment, as practiced by P.T. Barnum (1810-91). bashawism the characteristics of a bashaw, especially tyranny and imperiousness. beatnikism attitudes or behavior typical of a beatnik or one who has rejected conventions of society. bestiality a debased brutality, the opposite of humane activity: “I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial.” (Othello). See also sex. bizarrerie strangeness or grotesqueness, especially strange or unconventional behavior. blackguardism behavior typical of a blackguard, characterized by use of obscene language and by roguish actions. —blackguardery, n. —blackguardly, adj. bohemianism the practice of individualistic, unconventional, and relaxed conduct, of ten in an artistic context, expressing disregard for or opposition to ordinary conventions. —bohemian, n., adj. boobyism conduct characteristic of a stupid person or clown. —boobyish, adj. braggartism a braggart’s usual activity; bragging. —braggartist, braggart, n. brutalitarianism the practice of advocating or engaging in brutality. —brutalitarian, adj. brutism the set of attributes that characterize a brute. —brutish, adj. bullyism the actions of a bully. careerism the characteristics associated with one who advances his career even at the expense of his pride and dignity. —careerist, n. ceremonialism an addiction to ceremonies or ritualism, especially in social and other nonreligious contexts. —ceremonialist, n. characterology the study of character, especially its development and its variations. —characterologist, n. —characterologic, characterological, adj. charlatanism the quality of having characteristics of a fraud. —charlatanic, adj. consuetude a habit or custom; usual behavior. coxcombry foolish conceit or vanity; behavior typical of a coxcomb. daredevilism reckless or foolhardy behavior. Also called daredeviltry. —daredevil, n. debacchation Obsolete, raving or maniacal behavior, as that of a bacchanal. decorum proper behavior; action that is seemly and in good taste. —decorous, adj. die-hardism the attitudes or behavior of one who stubbornly holds on to something, as an outdated view, untenable position, etc. —die-hard, n., adj. dilettantism an admiration of or interest in the arts, often used pejoratively to designate a shallow, undisciplined, or frivolous attraction. —dilettante, n., adj. —dilettantish, adj. donkeyism 1. an action characterized as being donkeylike; foolishness. 2. the characteristic of being like a donkey. —donkeyish, adj. do-nothingism idleness or indolence as a habit or regular practice. dowdyism the habit of being shabbily dressed. —dowdyish, adj. dramaticism the habit of performing actions in a histrionic manner. ergoism a pedantic adherence to logically constructed rules. erraticism an action or behavior that deviates from the norm; unpredictability in behavior. exhibitionism 1. a deliberately conspicuous or exaggerated mode of behavior, intended to gain attention. 2. the abnormal practice of indecent exposure. —exhibitionist, n. —exhibitionistic, adj. faineance, faineancy laziness; the state of being idle. —faineant, adj. fairyism the quality of being a fairy or having fairylike characteristics. fanfaronade swaggering boastfulness; vainglorious speech or behavior. —fanfaron, n. faustianism spiritual or intellectual dissatisfaction combined with a desire for power or material advantage. After Johann Faust (c.1480-c.1538), German scholar portrayed by Marlowe and Goethe. —faustian, adj. fiendism Rare. evil attitudes and actions. flunkyism 1. the quality or state of being a servant or toady. 2. behavior typical of flunkyism. —flunky, flunkey, n. formularism the condition of adhering solely to set formulas. —formularistic, adj. fossilism behavior typical of an earlier time; old-fashioned or stuffy attitudes; fogyism. fraternalism the condition of having brotherly qualities. —fraternalist, n. —fraternalistic, adj. functionarism the administrative duties of officials. —functionary, n., adj. gangsterism the habit of using organized violence to achieve one’s ends. —gangster, n. gasconism boastful or bragging behavior. Also gasconadc. gelastic 1. inclined to laughter. 2. laugh-provoking in conduct or speech. gnathonism the extremely obsequious behavior of a sycophant. —gnathonic, adj. gourmandism, gormandism 1. a strong penchant for good food; gourmetism; epicurism. 2. gluttony. —gourmand, gormand, n., adj. grandeeism attitudes and actions modeled on the grandees, Iberian nobles of the highest rank. gypsyism, gipsyism the activities and style of living attributed to gypsies. —gypsy, gipsy, n. —gypsyish, gipsyish, adj. harlequinade a performance involving Harlequin or other characters of the Commedia dell’Arte; hence, buffoonery or clownish behavior. Also harlequinery. hermitism the practice of retiring from society and living in solitude, based upon a variety of motives, including religious. Also called hermitry, hermitship. —hermitic, hermitical, adj. histriconism histrionicism. histrionicism a tendency to theatrical or exaggerated action. Also histriconism. —histrionics, n. —histrionic, adj. hoboism the state of being a hobo or vagrant. holidayism a dedication to taking holidays. hooliganism lawless behavior or conduct typical of a hooligan. horsyism, horseyism looking or acting in some way like a horse. —horsy, horsey, adj. —horsily, adv. Hottentotism any behavior attributed to the Hottentots, in particular, a kind of stammering or stuttering. hoydenism ill-bred, boisterous, or tomboyish behavior in a woman. —hoyden, n. , —hoydenish, adj. humbuggery 1. pretentious behavior or attitudes. 2. imposing or deceptive behavior. —humbug, humbugger, n. humoralism, humouralism an obsolete physiological explanation of health, disease, and behavior, asserting that the relative proportions of four elemental bodily fluids or humors (blood-sanguinity, phlegm-sluggishness, black bile-melancholy, and yellow bile-choler) determined a person’s physical and mental constitution. —humoral, humoural, adj. hyphenism division of patriotic loyalties, ascribed by some to foreign-born citizens in the United States. idiocrasy an idiosyncrasy or personal mannerism or peculiarity. idiosyncrasy a mannerism, action, or form of behavior peculiar to one person or group. —idiosyncratic, idiosyncratical, adj. impudicity lack of shame or modesty. indecorum 1. indecorous, improper, or unseemly behavior. 2. an indecorous thing or action. Indianism the customs or traditions of Indians, especially American Indians. —Indianist, n. insurrectionism the quality of revolting against established authority. —insurrectionist, n., adj. —insurrectionary, adj. irascibility a tendency to irritability and sudden fits of anger. Also called irascibleness. —irascible, adj. Johnsonianism the quality of having traits or characteristics like those of Samuel Johnson. —Johnsonian, n., adj. juvenility Often pejorative. a mode of action or thought characterized by apparent youthfulness. —juvenile, n., adj. landlordism the actions and characteristics of a landlord. —landlordly, adj. larkinism frolicsomeness. larrikinism the state of being noisy, rowdy, or disorderly. —larrikin, adj., n. libertinism a tendency to unrestrained, often licentious or dissolute conduct. Also libertinage. —libertine, n., adj. lionism the pursuit or adulation of celebrities. —lionize, v. litigiousness 1. an inclination to dispute or disagree with others, esp. through civil suits. 2. argumentativeness. —litigious, adj. Londonism the customs and characteristics of London and of those who reside there. —Londonish, adj. macaronism, maccaronism a tendency to foppishness. —macaroni, maccaroni, n. maenadism behavior characteristic of a maenad or bacchante; raging or wild behavior in a woman. —maenadic, adj. maidism 1. the state or quality of being a maid, a young or unmarried woman. 2. behavior or attitude typical of maidism. mannerism a style of action, bearing, thought, or speech peculiar to an individual or a special group. See also art. —mannerist, n. —manneristic, adj. martinetism an emphasis on scrupulous attention to the details of methods and procedures in all areas of life. —martinet, n. —martinetish, adj. maudlinism Rare. 1. a tendency in temperament to be mawkishly sentimental and tearfully emotional. 2. a degree of drunkenness characterized by mawkish emotionalism. —maudlin, adj. melodramatics behavior typical of that portrayed in a melodrama, i.e., characterized by extremes of emotion. mercuriality 1. the state or quality of having a lively, fickle, volatile, or erratic attitude or charaeter. 2. an instance of such behavior. —mercurial, adj. milksopism 1. the state or quality of being a weak and ineffectual person. 2. behavior or attitudes typical of a such a person. mimicism an intense (and sometimes injurious) tendency to mimicry. mountebankism boastful and pretentious behavior; quackery or any actions typical of a mountebank. Also mountebankery. muckerism behavior characteristic of a boorish person. mutualism the principle or practice of mutual dependence as the condition of individual and social welfare. —mutualist, n. namby-pambyism weak or insipid behavior or attitude. —namby-pamby, n., adj. Negroism a quality or trait distinctive of Negroes. ninnyism conduct characteristic of a ninny, or silly fool. —ninnyish, adj. nomadism a rootless, nondomestic, and roving lifestyle. —nomadic, adj. nudism the practice of going nude. —nudist, n., adj. Occidentalism the characteristics and customs of people situated in western regions, especially the Western Hemisphere, as western European countries and the United States. —Occidentalist, n. ogreism the condition of resembling an ogre in actions and characteristics. —ogreish, adj. opportunism the conscious policy and practice of taking selfish advantage of circumstances, with little regard for principles. —opportunist, n. —opportunistic, adj. Orientalism the habits, qualities, and customs of Oriental peoples. —Orientalist, Orientality, n. parrotism mindless imitation. Also called parrotry. particularism the adherence to an exclusive subject, interest, or topic. —particularist, n. —particularistic, adj. parvenuism 1. behavior or attitudes typical of one who has recently acquired wealth or social position. 2. the state or quality of being a parvenu or upstart. —parvenu, n., adj. patricianism 1. the state of being a member of one of the original citizen families of ancient Rome. 2. the state of being noble or high born. —patriciate, n. plebeianism the quality of having common manners, character, or style. —plebeian, n., adj. pococurantism a tendency to conduct expressing indifference, nonchalance, or lack of concern. —pococurante, pococurantist, n. —pococurante, adj. poltroonism the characteristics associated with being a coward or wretch. Also called poltroonery. —poltroonish, adj. polypragmatism a penchant for meddlesomeness and officiousness. Also polypragmacy, polypragmaty. —polypragmatist, n. —polypragmatic, adj. pornerast one whose conduct is unchaste, licentious, or lewd. praxeology the study of human behavior and conduct. —praxeological, adj. preciosity excessive fastidiousness or over-refinement in language or behavior. precipitancy hasty or rash action, behavior, etc.; undue or ill-considered haste. —precipitant, adj. priggism the strict adherence to correctness of behavior. —prigger, n. —priggish, adj. profligacy 1. dissolute or immoral behavior. 2. reckless and extravagant spending or behavior. —profligate, adj. protagonism the actions and qualities of a protagonist. —protagonist, n. protervity a tendency to peevish, petulant, or insolent conduct. psychagogics, psychagogy a method of affecting behavior by assisting in the choice of desirable life goals. —psychagogue, n. puppyism affected or impertinent behavior; conceit. quixotism a tendency to absurdly chivalric, visionary, or romantically impractical conduct. —quixotic, quixotical, adj. rabulism Rare. a tendency to railing and quibbling. —rabulistic, rabulous, adj. reactionism the condition of being reactionary or resistant to change. —reactionist, n., adj. reporterism the characteristics of a reporter. reunionism the qualities of a reunion or social gathering. —reunionist, n. revolutionism the state of being revolutionary. —revolutionary, revolutionist, n. —revolutional, revolutionary, adj. routinism the excessive adherence to a routine. —routinist, n. rowdyism noisy, quarrelsome, or disorderly conduct or behavior. —rowdy, n., adj. ruffianism behavior typical or characteristic of a brutal and violent person. —ruffian, n. Satanism diabolical behavior. —Satanist, n. savagism the condition of having uncivilized or primitive qualities. —savagedom, n. schoolboyism the practices characteristic of a schoolboy. —schoolboyish, adj. scoundrelism the characteristics and behavior of a scoundrel. —scoundrelly, adj. seclusionist a person who seeks solitude or removes himself from the society of others; a recluse. sensorialism the quality of having sensation. —sensorial. adj. seraphism Archaic. an ecstatic devotion, especially religious. sermonist 1. a person who delivers sermons. 2. a person who adopts a preaching attitude. Shandyism a tendency to whimsical conduct in accord with absurd theories from past ages. [Allusion to the actions of Walter, father of the hero in Sterne’s Tristram Shandy.] spasmodism a tendency to conduct marked by outbursts of strong emotion. —spasmodist, n. —spasmodic, spasmodical, adj. Sundayism activity characteristic of the observance of Sunday as a holy day. supermanism the condition of having qualities or traits like those of a superman. —supermanly, adj. sybaritism a love of luxury. [Allusion to Sybaris, a Greek colony in Italy not-ed for its luxury.] —sybarite, n. —sybaritic, adj. sycophantism the practice of self-serving or servile flattery. Also called sycophancy. —sycophant, n. —sycophantic, adj. sympathism the condition of having coinciding emotions in two or more people. tantalism Obsolete. a form of teasing or harassment in which a hope of some good or benefit is instilled in the victim, only to be repeatedly dashed and the reward shown to be unattainable. tartufflsm hypocrisy. [Allusion to Molière’s hypocritical hero, Tartuffe.] Also called tartuffery. theatricalism a tendency to actions marked by exaggerations in speech or behavior. Also called theatricism. tidyism the habit of extreme neatness. Timonism a personal despair leading to misanthropy. [Allusion to Shake-speare’s Timon of Athens.] toadyism a fawning flattery, obsequiousness, or sycophancy. —toady, n. —toadyish, adj, tokenism formal or superficial compliance with a law, requirement, convention, etc. tomboyism the conduct characteristic of a tomboy, a boyish girl. —tomboyish, adj. Turkism Obsolete, the attitudes and actions of the Turks. ultracrepidarianism the habit of giving opinions and advice on matters outside of one’s knowledge or competence. —ultracrepidarian, n., adj. vagabondism 1. the tendency to wander from place to place without a settled home; nomadism. 2. the life of a tramp; vagrancy. Also called vagabondage. —vagabond, n., adj. vandalism the malicious destruction or defamation of public or private property. —vandal, vandalization, n. —vandalish, adj. vanguardism the actions or thoughts of members of a vanguard, those at the forefront of a movement, fad, etc. —vanguardist, n. Victorianism the affection for or emulation of Victorian tastes or thoughts. Vikingism the actions characteristic of a Viking, i.e., savagery, rapaciousness, etc. voyeurism the compulsion to seek sexual gratification by secretively looking at sexual objects or acts; the actions of a Peeping Tom. —voyeur, n. —voyeuristic, adj. vulpinism Rare. the state or quality of being foxlike, especially crafty or cunning. —vulpine, adj. vulturism behavior or character typical of a vulture, especially in the figurative sense of being rapacious. —vulturous, adj. werewolfism the quality of having the traits of a werewolf. Yahooism a penchant for rowdyism. [Allusion to Swift’s characters in Gulliver’s Travels.] yokelism 1. the state or quality of being a yokel or country bumpkin. 2. behavior, language, etc, typical of a yokel. zanyism the style of a zany or buffoon. zealotry a tendency to undue or excessive zeal; fanaticism. zelotypia Obsolete. 1. abnormal zeal. 2. morbid jealousy. —zelotypic, adj.
(usually uncountable, plural behaviors)
- (uncountable) Human conduct relative to social norms.
- (uncountable) The way a living creature behaves or acts generally.
- (uncountable, informal) A state of probation about one's conduct.
- He was on his behavior when her family visited.
- (countable) An instance of the way a living creature behaves.
- (countable, uncountable, biology, psychology) Observable response produced by an organism.
- (uncountable) The way a device or system operates.
- Adjectives often applied to "behavior": human, animal, physical, chemical, mechanical, electrical, organizational, corporate, social, collective, parental, interpersonal, sexual, criminal, appropriate, inappropriate, correct, incorrect, right, wrong, good, bad, acceptable, unacceptable, poor, ethical, unethical, moral, immoral, responsible, irresponsible, normal, odd, deviant, abnormal, violent, abusive, aggressive, offensive, defensive, rude, stupid, undesirable, verbal, nonverbal, learned, professional, unprofessional, adaptive, compulsive, questionable, assertive, disgusting, self-destructive.
OriginSee also: behaviour
behavior - Computer Definition
In object technology, the processing that an object can perform.