behave

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English behaven, bihabben (to restrain, behave), equivalent to be- +‎ have. Compare Old English behabban (to include, hold, surround, comprehend, contain, detain, withhold, restrain), Middle High German behaben (to hold, take possession of).

Pronunciation[edit]

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.
    • Bible, 2 Macc. ii. 21
      those that behaved themselves manfully
  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.
  3. (obsolete, transitive) To conduct, manage, regulate (something).
    • Shakespeare
      He did behave his anger ere 'twas spent.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, II.iii:
      who his limbs with labours, and his mind / Behaues with cares, cannot so easie mis.
  4. (intransitive) To act in a polite or proper way.
    His mother threatened to spank him if he didn't behave.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

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External links[edit]