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

to behave badly or improperly: The children misbehaved during our visit.

verb (used with object), mis·be·haved, mis·be·hav·ing.

to conduct (oneself) without regard for good manners or accepted moral standards: Several of the guests misbehaved themselves.

Origin of misbehave

late Middle English word dating back to 1425–75; see origin at mis-1, behave
Related formsmis·be·hav·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for misbehave

trespass, sin, offend, fail, misconduct, roughhouse, deviate, transgress

Examples from the Web for misbehave

Contemporary Examples of misbehave

Historical Examples of misbehave

  • Granted that they wished to misbehave, it was pleasant for them to be able to do so.

    A Room With A View

    E. M. Forster

  • And if you try to hook it, or misbehave anyways, you get put in solitary.

    Pippin; A Wandering Flame

    Laura E. Richards

  • He urged me to do likewise, to misbehave, to sin with officers of the garrison.


    James Joyce

  • When their ichor is up, they misbehave as we do when our blood is up, during the fury of war.

  • On land it's bad enough for us to misbehave; but submarine sentiment!

    The Fighting Chance

    Robert W. Chambers

British Dictionary definitions for misbehave



to behave (oneself) badly
Derived Formsmisbehaver, nounmisbehaviour (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

Word Origin and History for misbehave

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper