• IPA: /bɪˈheɪv/, /bəˈheɪv/

behave (behaves, present participle behaving; past behaved, past participle behaved)

  1. (reflexive) To conduct (oneself) well, or in a given way.
    You need to behave yourself, young lady.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), imprinted at London: By Robert Barker, […], OCLC 964384981 ↗, 2 Maccabees 2:21 ↗:
      And the manifest signs that came from heaven unto those that behaved themselves manfully to their honour for Judaism{{...}
  2. (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.
  3. (obsolete, transitive) To conduct, manage, regulate (something).
    • c. 1605–1608, William Shakespeare, “The Life of Tymon of Athens”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act III, scene v], page 88 ↗:
      He did behave his anger ere 'twas spent.
  4. (intransitive) To act in a polite or proper way.
    His mother threatened to spank him if he didn't behave.
Related terms Translations Translations
  • German: benehmen
  • Italian: comportarsi bene
  • Portuguese: comportar-se
  • Russian: вести себя́ пра́вильно
  • Spanish: comportarse, portarse

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