Behave meaning

bĭ-hāv
The definition of behave means to act in a certain manner to control yourself so your actions are acceptable and considered appropriate by society.

An example of behave is when you do what you are told at school, using your indoor voice and following all directions.

verb
6
1
To act, react, function, or perform in a particular way.

This fabric behaves well even in hot weather.

verb
2
0
To conduct (oneself) properly.

Did you behave yourself at the party?

verb
2
0
To conduct (oneself) in a specified way.

The witness behaved herself with great calmness.

verb
1
0
To conduct (oneself or itself) in a specified way; act or react.
verb
1
0
Advertisement
To conduct (oneself) in a correct or proper way.
verb
0
0
(reflexive) To conduct (oneself) well, or in a given way.

You need to behave yourself, young lady.

verb
0
0
1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, II.iii.

Who his limbs with labours, and his mind / Behaues with cares, cannot so easie mis.

verb
0
0
(intransitive) To act in a polite or proper way.

His mother threatened to spank him if he didn't behave.

verb
0
0
(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.

verb
0
1
Advertisement

Origin of behave

  • Middle English behaven be- be- haven to have have

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • 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”).

    From Wiktionary