Behave



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

Therefore, by simple logic, each year this gap compounds itself—the kids who behave well and follow instructions will excel.
The New Child-Testing Craze Po Bronson, Ashley Merryman February 16, 2010

These roles include the whole moral structure of society—how you are to behave; what kind of clothing you are to wear.
Joseph Campbell on the Roots of Halloween Joseph Campbell October 30, 2014

Asked if there were any indications that Krusinski could behave in such a way, the officials on the panel said there were none.
Air Force General Blames Increase in Military Rape on Hookup Culture Eleanor Clift May 7, 2013

Americans have the ability to behave as a great power but always to hold themselves to account as an antimilitary ideal.
The Inevitability of Barack Richard Bernstein May 19, 2009

No one has to know you have a bunch of dough, and you can behave any way you want.
Bill Murray’s Words of Wisdom: On Comedy, the Greatness of In-N-Out, and Searching For Great Love Marlow Stern October 9, 2014

Historical Examples

It was childish of her to behave so spitefully, but what could he do except repay her in kind?
In a Little Town Rupert Hughes

Otherwise I may behave in a manner to be regretted in my calmer moments.
The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson

He had never read How to behave in a Palace, but, though much amazed, he did not feel at all shy.
Edmund Dulacs Fairy-Book Edmund Dulac

“He’s no business to behave as if it was Papa’s fault,” said Harriett.
Life and Death of Harriett Frean May Sinclair

You may go to either of these Places, and then we shall have you more under our Eye, and shall see how you behave.
The History of the Five Indian Nations of Canada Cadwallader Colden

verb
(intransitive) to act or function in a specified or usual way
to conduct (oneself) in a specified way: he behaved badly towards her
to conduct (oneself) properly or as desired: the child behaved himself all day
v.

early 15c., from be- intensive prefix + have in sense of “to have or bear (oneself) in a particular way, comport” (cf. German sich behaben, French se porter). Cognate Old English compound behabban meant “to contain,” and alternatively the modern sense of behave might have evolved from behabban via a notion of “self-restraint.” Related: Behaved; behaving.

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