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[bih-heyv] /bɪˈheɪv/
verb (used without object), behaved, behaving.
to act in a particular way; conduct or comport oneself or itself:
The ship behaves well.
to act properly:
Did the child behave?
to act or react under given circumstances:
This plastic behaves strangely under extreme heat or cold.
verb (used with object), behaved, behaving.
to conduct or comport (oneself) in a proper manner:
Sit quietly and behave yourself.
Origin of behave
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English behaven (reflexive). See be-, have
Related forms
unbehaving, adjective
well-behaved, adjective
1. perform, acquit oneself, deport oneself. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for behaved
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Early in the afternoon her uncle came, and behaved to her very kindly.

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • Sidney's heart, considering what was happening to it, behaved very well.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • Yet they behaved with Oriental composure and calmly accepted the inevitable.

    The Story of the Malakand Field Force Sir Winston S. Churchill
  • She had behaved as coolly as if she had been in a dining-room and he had been completely clothed.

    The Foolish Lovers St. John G. Ervine
  • They behaved precisely as if I had a girl in tow and wanted to be left alone.

    The Underdog F. Hopkinson Smith
British Dictionary definitions for behaved


(intransitive) to act or function in a specified or usual way
to conduct (oneself) in a specified way: he behaved badly towards her
to conduct (oneself) properly or as desired: the child behaved himself all day
Word Origin
C15: see be-, have
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for behaved



early 15c., from be- intensive prefix + have in sense of "to have or bear (oneself) in a particular way, comport" (cf. German sich behaben, French se porter). Cognate Old English compound behabban meant "to contain," and alternatively the modern sense of behave might have evolved from behabban via a notion of "self-restraint." Related: Behaved; behaving.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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