behave


behave
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 of various things in the manner indicated by modifiers
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one must keep one's contracts, and behave as persons of honor and breeding should behave— Rose Macaulay

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you will bitterly reproach him in your own heart, and seriously think that he has behaved very badly to you— Wilde

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Used without modifiers, it indicates action and conduct adjudged proper and seemly; in this use it is common in relation to children and adolescents
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the average parent is likely to say that the child behaves if the child conforms to what the parent thinks is right— Fishbein

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Conduct often applies to actions showing direction or control of one's actions or bearing with command, will, knowledge, and resolution
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he conducted himself with patience and tact, endeavoring to enforce the laws and to check any revolutionary moves— W. E. Stevens

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Comport, in this sense always reflexive, is somewhat more formal than behave and conduct but usually lacks any other special suggestion though it sometimes may convey the notion of conformance to the expected (as of one's class) or suitable (as to one's position)
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the missionaries . . . comported themselves in a way that did not rouse general antagonism or they could have been easily ousted— Spicer

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a man is judged now by how well he comports himself in the face of danger— Aldridge

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after having seen him thus publicly comport himself, but one course was open to me—to cut his acquaintance— Thackeray

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In this sense demean and deport are close synonyms for comport; the former is becoming rare
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it shall be my earnest endeavor to demean myself with grateful respect towards her— Austen

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The latter may suggest deportment according to a code
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Dido and Aeneas, in the Roman d'Eneas, deport themselves in accordance with the strictest canons of courtly love— Lowes

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Acquit and quit, the latter archaic, are always used reflexively in this sense; they are likely to apply to action deserving praise or meeting expectations
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I trust we acquit ourselves worthily as custodians of this sacred mystery— Wylie

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he then acquitted himself well as a hardworking and level-headed chairman of the judiciary committee of the House— Pearson

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the endless heroes of life and death who still bravely meet their separate hours . . . and quit themselves like men— Yale Review

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a border action in which the Dogra companies of the Loodhiana Sikhs had acquitted themselves well— Kipling

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Analogous words: bear, *carry: manage, control, direct (see CONDUCT)
Antonyms: misbehave
2 *act, react, operate, work, function

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • 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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