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 misbehaving

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

Examples from the Web for misbehaving

Contemporary Examples of misbehaving

Historical Examples of misbehaving

  • 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.


    W. Gordon Stables

British Dictionary definitions for misbehaving



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 misbehaving



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper