verb (used without object), be·haved, be·hav·ing.
- 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.
verb (used with object), be·haved, be·hav·ing.
- to conduct or comport (oneself) in a proper manner: Sit quietly and behave yourself.
- (intr) to act or function in a specified or usual way
- to conduct (oneself) in a specified wayhe behaved badly towards her
- to conduct (oneself) properly or as desiredthe child behaved himself all day
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.