Definition of behavior in English:


Syllabification: be·hav·ior
Pronunciation: /biˈhāvyər
(British behaviour)


  • 1The way in which one acts or conducts oneself, especially toward others: good behavior his insulting behavior toward me
    More example sentences
    • Nella was still angry at their patronising and arrogant behaviour towards her in those times.
    • He complained that the doctor's behaviour towards him had been inappropriate.
    • It was totally unacceptable behaviour towards people who had given you long and loyal service.
  • 1.1The way in which an animal or person acts in response to a particular situation or stimulus: the feeding behavior of predators
    More example sentences
    • Animals alter their behavior to avoid a variety of different types of predators.
    • Data on ancient color could tell us about the environment and behavior of animals.
    • Few other studies have correlated the influence of the full moon with behaviour of animals or insects.
  • 1.2The way in which a natural phenomenon or a machine works or functions: the erratic behavior of the old car
    More example sentences
    • Perhaps this is because they mimic evolved solutions, so their behaviour seems more natural.
    • This is so the otters' food can be hidden to encourage their natural foraging behaviour.
    • In fact operating transnationally should be a natural and normal behaviour.
    functioning, action, performance, operation, working, reaction, response


be on one's best behavior

Behave well when being observed: warn them to be on their best behavior
More example sentences
  • Barney said: ‘They really deserved to win and were on their best behaviour.’
  • But if some of the former residents were lacking in self control the children greeting the Princess were on their best behaviour.
  • Well done to all the pupils who were on their best behaviour on the night.


late Middle English: from behave, on the pattern of demeanour (an earlier spelling of demeanor), and influenced by obsolete haviour from have.

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