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”).
- (reflexive) To conduct (oneself) well, or in a given way.
- You need to behave yourself, young lady.
- (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.
- (obsolete, transitive) To conduct, manage, regulate (something).
- c. 1605–1608, William Shakespeare, “The Life of Tymon of Athens”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act III, scene v], page 88:
- He did behave his anger ere 'twas spent.
- (intransitive) To act in a polite or proper way.
- His mother threatened to spank him if he didn't behave.
- I’ve locked this thread because y’all can’t behave.
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.