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

Definition of behavior in English:


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


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


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.

Definition of behavior in:

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