View synonyms for behavior


[ bih-heyv-yer ]


  1. manner of behaving or acting.

    Synonyms: carriage, bearing, demeanor

  2. Psychology, Animal Behavior.
    1. observable activity in a human or animal.
    2. the aggregate of responses to internal and external stimuli.
    3. a stereotyped, species-specific activity, as a courtship dance or startle reflex.
  3. Often be·hav·iors. a behavior pattern.
  4. the action or reaction of any material under given circumstances:

    the behavior of tin under heat.


/ bĭ-hāvyər /

  1. The actions displayed by an organism in response to its environment.
  2. One of these actions. Certain animal behaviors (such as nest building) result from instinct , while others (such as hunting) must be learned.
  3. The manner in which a physical system, such as a gas, subatomic particle, or ecosystem, acts or functions, especially under specified conditions.

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Other Words From

  • be·hav·ior·al adjective
  • in·ter·be·hav·ior noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of behavior1

First recorded in 1375–1425; behave ( def ) + -ior (on model of havior, variant of havor, from Middle French (h)avoir “a having,” ultimately from Latin habēre “to have”); replacing late Middle English behavoure, behaver; -or 1( def )

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Idioms and Phrases

see on one's best behavior .

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Synonym Study

Behavior, conduct, deportment, comportment refer to one's actions before or toward others, especially on a particular occasion. Behavior refers to actions usually measured by commonly accepted standards: His behavior at the party was childish. Conduct refers to actions viewed collectively, especially as measured by an ideal standard: Conduct is judged according to principles of ethics. Deportment is behavior related to a code or to an arbitrary standard: Deportment is guided by rules of etiquette. The teacher gave Susan a mark of B in deportment. Comportment is behavior as viewed from the standpoint of one's management of one's own actions: His comportment was marked by a quiet assurance.

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Example Sentences

It learns what normal behavior looks like from an operations system when it interacts with the network, such as what systems it interacts with and which individual employees tend to access it.

“The problem is that a lot of universities are acting like the only thing you can rely on on is behavior change on the part of students without calling out the responsibility of the universities themselves,” says Jha.

From Fortune

Approximating the complex behavior of fields often gave nonsensical, infinite answers that made some theorists think field theories might be a dead end.

One intriguing finding from these studies suggests that only certain childhood temperaments influence teenage personality and behavior.

They need to change their menus, websites, and social media strategies—and ultimately, they need to elicit a change in consumer behavior, which takes time.

From Fortune

Anger often manifests in withholders as another self-destructive but more socially acceptable feeling or behavior, like anxiety.

The team tracked individuals from afar to get a sense of their behavior.

But it looks like it was created by crazed person with obsessive-compulsive behavior.

They seem to belong to us, and then they freely go—behavior very uncharacteristic of a shadow or a shoe.

The idea is to reveal human nature and behavior with your camera moves.

Moreover, most of the burrows were only a few feet apart and no agonistic behavior was witnessed.

He had been very silent all the morning, but Bessie's heart was so full that she had taken little notice of his behavior.

They still hold my wife and children as hostages for my good behavior.

This word struck the tutor, who saw there was some mystery in this behavior, and he looked at the speaker with admiration.

He came the next day; I felt that my behavior must have seemed strange, and I excused it on the ground of my affection for Daphne.


Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.