English edit

Etymology edit

From Middle English behaven, bihabben (to restrain, behave), from Old English behabban (to surround, embrace, hold, contain, hold back, withhold, restrain), from Proto-West Germanic *bihabbjan, equivalent to be- +‎ have. Cognate with Middle Low German behebben, behāven (to receive, acquire, reach, keep), Low German behebben (to act, behave), German behaben (to behave).

Pronunciation edit

  • IPA(key): /bɪˈheɪv/, /bəˈheɪv/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪv

Verb edit

behave (third-person singular simple present behaves, present participle behaving, simple past and past participle behaved)

  1. (reflexive) To conduct (oneself) well, or in a given way.
    You need to behave yourself, young lady.
  2. (intransitive) To act, conduct oneself in a specific manner; used with an adverbial of manner.
    He behaves like a child whenever she's around.
    How did the students behave while I was gone?
    My laptop has been behaving erratically ever since you borrowed it.
    • 2014 April 21, “Subtle effects”, in The Economist, volume 411, number 8884:
      Manganism has been known about since the 19th century, when miners exposed to ores containing manganese, a silvery metal, began to totter, slur their speech and behave like someone inebriated.
  3. (obsolete, transitive) To conduct, manage, regulate (something).
  4. (intransitive) To act in a polite or proper way.
    His mother threatened to spank him if he didn't behave.
    • 2009, Roger L. Van Ommeren, From Rebellion to Submission, page 48:
      One time when Willie was more set on clowning than on learning about Jesus, Miss Helen ordered, "Willie Mack, you stand up against the wall until you learn to behave."

Conjugation edit

Derived terms edit

Related terms edit

Translations edit

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Further reading edit