[ bih-heyv ]
/ bɪˈheɪv /

verb (used without object), be·haved, be·hav·ing.

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), be·haved, be·hav·ing.

to conduct or comport (oneself) in a proper manner: Sit quietly and behave yourself.

Origin of behave

1400–50; late Middle English behaven (reflexive). See be-, have


1 perform, acquit oneself, deport oneself.

Related forms

un·be·hav·ing, adjectivewell-be·haved, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for behave

British Dictionary definitions for behave


/ (bɪˈheɪv) /


(intr) to act or function in a specified or usual way
to conduct (oneself) in a specified wayhe behaved badly towards her
to conduct (oneself) properly or as desiredthe child behaved himself all day

Word Origin for behave

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