behave

[15] To ‘behave oneself’ originally meant literally to ‘have oneself in a particular way’ – have being used here in the sense ‘hold’ or ‘comport’. The be- is an intensive prefix. Of particular interest is the way in which the word preserves in aspic the 15th-century pronunciation of have in stressed contexts. For much of its history behave has been used with reference to a person’s bearing and public dignity (‘He was some years a Captain, and behaved himself with great gallantry in several engagements’, Richard Steele, Spectator Number 2, 1711), and the modern connotations of propriety, of ‘goodness’ versus ‘naughtiness’, are a relatively recent, 19th-century development. The noun behaviour [15] was formed on analogy with the verb from an earlier haviour, a variant of aver ‘possession’ [14], from the nominal use of the Old French verb aveir ‘have’. => HAVE

The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins. 2013.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • behave — 1 Behave, conduct, comport, demean, deport, acquit, quit are comparable when they mean to act or to cause or allow (oneself) to act in a specified way or in a way that evokes comment. Behave denotes the performing of various actions or the saying …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Behave — Be*have , 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.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Behave — Be*have , v. i. To act; to conduct; to bear or carry one s self; as, to behave well or ill. [1913 Webster] Note: 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… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • behave — be‧have [bɪˈheɪv] verb [intransitive] to act or to do something in a particular way: • Both gold and oil prices behaved exactly as analysts and investors had been predicting. * * * behave UK US /bɪˈheɪv/ verb [I] ► to do something or happen in a… …   Financial and business terms

  • behave — [bē hāv′, bihāv′] vt., vi. behaved, behaving [see BE & HAVE] 1. to conduct (oneself or itself) in a specified way; act or react 2. to conduct (oneself) in a correct or proper way SYN. BEHAVE, used reflexively (as also the other words in this… …   English World dictionary

  • behave — (v.) early 15c., from BE (Cf. be ) intensive prefix + HAVE (Cf. have) in sense of to have or bear (oneself) in a particular way, comport (Cf. Ger. sich behaben, Fr. se porter). Cognate O.E. compound behabban meant to contain, and alternatively… …   Etymology dictionary

  • behave — [v1] function act, operate, perform, react, run, take, work; concepts 1,4 behave [v2] act reasonably, properly act correctly, act one’s age, act with decorum, be civil, be good, be nice, be on best behavior*, be orderly, comport oneself, conduct… …   New thesaurus

  • behave — ► VERB 1) act in a specified way. 2) (also behave oneself) act in a polite or proper way. ORIGIN from BE (Cf. ↑be ) + HAVE(Cf. ↑have) in the sense «bear (oneself) in a particular way» …   English terms dictionary

  • behave — index demean (deport oneself), deport (conduct oneself), obey Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • behave */*/ — UK [bɪˈheɪv] / US verb Word forms behave : present tense I/you/we/they behave he/she/it behaves present participle behaving past tense behaved past participle behaved 1) [intransitive] to do things in a particular way The children behaved very… …   English dictionary

  • behave — be|have [ bı heıv ] verb ** 1. ) intransitive to do things in a particular way: The children behaved very badly. behave like: You behaved like a complete idiot! behave toward: This is not how you behave toward a child. behave as if/though: He… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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