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[bih-hoov] /bɪˈhuv/ (chiefly in impersonal use)
verb (used with object), behooved, behooving.
to be necessary or proper for, as for moral or ethical considerations; be incumbent on:
It behooves the court to weigh evidence impartially.
to be worthwhile to, as for personal profit or advantage:
It would behoove you to be nicer to those who could help you.
verb (used without object), behooved, behooving.
Archaic. to be needful, proper, or due:
Perseverance is a quality that behooves in a scholar.
Origin of behoove
before 900; Middle English behoven, Old English behōfian to need (behōf behoof + -ian infinitive suffix)
2. benefit, advantage, serve, better, advance; suit, befit, beseem. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for behooved
Historical Examples
  • It behooved him now to reach Grant as soon as he could with his news.

    The Rock of Chickamauga Joseph A. Altsheler
  • Indeed it behooved him to keep on good terms with his pupils.

  • Nights when they were abroad, it behooved men to stay under cover.

    The Book of Hallowe'en Ruth Edna Kelley
  • It behooved the living therefore to learn how to deal with ghosts.


    William Graham Sumner
  • The hornets were stirring then, and it behooved him to keep well away from their nest.

    The Doomsman Van Tassel Sutphen
  • This woman was evidently quizzing him, so it behooved him to repay her in kind.

    The Panchronicon Harold Steele Mackaye
  • It behooved me in these astonishing circumstances to learn to sew!

  • But she knew that it was thus, and not otherwise, that it behooved them to talk.

  • The more unsuspicious he was, the more it behooved Kenwick to guard his interests.

    A Venetian June

    Anna Fuller
  • I knew not that it behooved me to be upon my oath, being in the presence of the Governor of Rome.

    Aurelian William Ware
Word Origin and History for behooved



Old English behofian "to have need of, have use for," verbal form of the ancient compound word represented by behoof.

Historically, it rimes with move, prove, but being now mainly a literary word, it is generally made to rime with rove, grove, by those who know it only in books. [OED]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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