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behave

[bih-heyv] /bɪˈheɪv/
verb (used without object), behaved, behaving.
1.
to act in a particular way; conduct or comport oneself or itself:
The ship behaves well.
2.
to act properly:
Did the child behave?
3.
to act or react under given circumstances:
This plastic behaves strangely under extreme heat or cold.
verb (used with object), behaved, behaving.
4.
to conduct or comport (oneself) in a proper manner:
Sit quietly and behave yourself.
Origin of behave
late Middle English
1400-1450
1400-50; late Middle English behaven (reflexive). See be-, have
Related forms
unbehaving, adjective
well-behaved, adjective
Synonyms
1. perform, acquit oneself, deport oneself.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for behave
Contemporary Examples
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.

  • "He's no business to behave as if it was Papa's fault," said Harriett.

  • You may go to either of these Places, and then we shall have you more under our Eye, and shall see how you behave.

British Dictionary definitions for behave

behave

/bɪˈheɪv/
verb
1.
(intransitive) to act or function in a specified or usual way
2.
to conduct (oneself) in a specified way: he behaved badly towards her
3.
to conduct (oneself) properly or as desired: the child behaved himself all day
Word Origin
C15: see be-, have
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
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Word Origin and History for behave
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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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14
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