Etymology
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behave (v.)

early 15c., reflexive, "conduct or comport" (oneself, in a specified manner), from be- intensive prefix + have in sense of "to have or bear (oneself) in a particular way, comport" (compare 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." In early modern English it also could be transitive, "to govern, manage, conduct." Related: Behaved; behaving.

updated on May 02, 2017

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Definitions of behave from WordNet

behave (v.)
behave in a certain manner; show a certain behavior; conduct or comport oneself;
Don't behave like a fool
Synonyms: act / do
behave (v.)
behave in a certain manner;
Synonyms: acquit / bear / deport / conduct / comport / carry
behave (v.)
behave well or properly;
The children must learn to behave
Synonyms: comport
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.