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[mis-bi-heyv] /ˌmɪs bɪˈheɪv/
verb (used without object), misbehaved, misbehaving.
to behave badly or improperly:
The children misbehaved during our visit.
verb (used with object), misbehaved, misbehaving.
to conduct (oneself) without regard for good manners or accepted moral standards:
Several of the guests misbehaved themselves.
Origin of misbehave
late Middle English
late Middle English word dating back to 1425-75; See origin at mis-1, behave
Related forms
misbehaver, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for misbehaving
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Having that in my favour I do not think that I was misbehaving to you in proposing to her.

  • That youngster of mine has not been misbehaving herself, I hope?

    Sisters Three Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey
  • He knew, as well as did Mr. Waddle or Polly, that he was misbehaving himself.

    Ralph the Heir

    Anthony Trollope
  • Oh, it's the philosophers who have been misbehaving themselves?

  • They do so, they will tell you, to prevent pussy from misbehaving in the house.

    Cats W. Gordon Stables
  • Yes; this bairn Anne, Mrs. Ross, as you see, has been misbehaving herself.

    Merkland Mrs. Oliphant
British Dictionary definitions for misbehaving


to behave (oneself) badly
Derived Forms
misbehaver, noun
misbehaviour (ˌmɪsbɪˈheɪvjə) noun
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 misbehaving



"conduct oneself improperly," late 15c.; see mis- (1) + behave. Related: Misbehaved; misbehaving.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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