Definition of behave verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

      

    behave

     verb
    verb
    BrE BrE//bɪˈheɪv//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//bɪˈheɪv//
     
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they behave
    BrE BrE//bɪˈheɪv//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//bɪˈheɪv//
     
    he / she / it behaves
    BrE BrE//bɪˈheɪvz//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//bɪˈheɪvz//
     
    past simple behaved
    BrE BrE//bɪˈheɪvd//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//bɪˈheɪvd//
     
    past participle behaved
    BrE BrE//bɪˈheɪvd//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//bɪˈheɪvd//
     
    -ing form behaving
    BrE BrE//bɪˈheɪvɪŋ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//bɪˈheɪvɪŋ//
     
     
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  1. 1  [intransitive] + adv./prep. to do things in a particular way synonym act The doctor behaved very unprofessionally. They behaved very badly towards their guests. He behaved like a true gentleman. She behaved with great dignity. He behaved as if/though nothing had happened. They behave differently when you're not around. In spoken English people often use like instead of as if or as though, especially in North American English:He behaved like nothing had happened. This is not considered correct in written (British English).
  2. 2  [intransitive, transitive] to do things in a way that people think is correct or polite Will you kids just behave! She doesn't know how to behave in public. The children always behave for their father. behave yourself I want you to behave yourselves while I'm away. opposite misbehave
  3. 3  -behaved (in adjectives) behaving in the way mentioned well-/badly behaved children
  4. 4[intransitive] + adv./prep. (specialist) to naturally react, move, etc. in a particular way a study of how metals behave under pressure
  5. Word Origin late Middle English: from be- ‘thoroughly’ + have in the sense ‘have or bear (oneself) in a particular way’ (corresponding to modern German sich behaben).Extra examples Children, if they are used to being treated with respect, will behave accordingly. He behaved as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. He had always behaved in a friendly manner towards us. Humans and machines sometimes behave similarly. I know I should have behaved differently. People behave according to their own understanding of situations. Stop behaving like a three-year-old! The enquiry investigated whether officers had behaved correctly. the freedom to behave naturally He behaved as if nothing had happened. The doctor behaved most unprofessionally. They behave differently when you’re not around.Idioms
    behave/act as if you own the place, think you own the place
     
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    (disapproving) to behave in a very confident way that annoys other people, for example by telling them what to do
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: behave