- IPA: /bɪˈheɪv/
- Rhymes: -eɪv
- ( reflexive ) To conduct ( oneself ) well, or in a given way .
- ( intransitive ) To act, conduct oneself in a specific manner; used with an adverbial of manner .
- ( obsolete, transitive ) To conduct, manage, regulate ( something ).
- ( intransitive ) To act in a polite or proper way .
From late Middle English behaven ( “to restrain” ), 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” ) .
Explanation of behave by Wordnet Dictionary
- Behave v. t. [imp. & p. p. Behaved ( ); p. pr. & vb. n. Behaving.] [AS. behabban to surround, restrain, detain ( akin to G. gehaben ( obs. ) to have, sich gehaben to behave or carry one's self ); pref. be- + habban to have. See Have, v. t. ]
1. To manage or govern in point of behavior; to discipline; to handle; to restrain. [Obs.]
He did behave his anger ere 't was spent. Shak.
2. To carry; to conduct; to comport; to manage; to bear; -- used reflexively.
Those that behaved themselves manfully. 2 Macc. ii. 21.
- Behave, v. i. To act; to conduct; to bear or carry one's self; as, “to behave well or ill”.
☞ This verb is often used colloquially without an adverb of manner; as, if he does not behave, he will be punished. It is also often applied to inanimate objects; as, the ship behaved splendidly.
Definition of behave by GCIDE Dictionary