Definition of behavior in US English:

behavior

(British behaviour)

noun

  • 1The way in which one acts or conducts oneself, especially toward others.

    ‘his insulting behavior toward me’
    ‘good behavior’
    • ‘We then had to consider whether permanent exclusion was a reasonable response to that behaviour.’
    • ‘The other is that the signing of the pledge was a form of indirectly enforced good behaviour.’
    • ‘There is no evidence of any self harm or of threatening or aggressive behaviour towards others.’
    • ‘Nella was still angry at their patronising and arrogant behaviour towards her in those times.’
    • ‘They often show aggressive behavior toward health professionals when the truth of the symptoms is challenged.’
    • ‘I don't think it is wrong, or a waste of time, to point out the virtue of manners and good behaviour.’
    • ‘It was tempting to condemn him for his attitude and his behaviour towards the girl.’
    • ‘He was a gentleman through and through, and his behaviour towards her had never been less than proper.’
    • ‘If someone is to be responsible for this unacceptable behavior, it had to be him.’
    • ‘The tendency toward formal behavior is strengthened by the tradition of using titles.’
    • ‘It was totally unacceptable behaviour towards people who had given you long and loyal service.’
    • ‘He complained that the doctor's behaviour towards him had been inappropriate.’
    • ‘This could lead to writing a code of conduct to guide their behaviour with each other.’
    • ‘Thinking helps us to consider what is, or is not, appropriate behavior towards fellow human beings.’
    • ‘Set a good example with your courteous behavior toward the parents of kids on the other team.’
    • ‘This forward behavior toward an adult earned him another frown from his older brother.’
    • ‘Teaching is undermined by poor behaviour and teachers need practical support.’
    • ‘Seldom have we witnessed a more shameless display of rude and vulgar behavior towards an invited guest.’
    • ‘If this fails to moderate bad behaviour, officers will visit the family home.’
    • ‘This pattern of behavior continued until it was time for the first quarter's report card.’
    conduct, way of behaving, way of acting, deportment, bearing, etiquette
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The way in which an animal or person acts in response to a particular situation or stimulus.
      ‘the feeding behavior of predators’
      • ‘Animals alter their behavior to avoid a variety of different types of predators.’
      • ‘The key is knowing the behaviour pattern of horses and giving clear and consistent instructions.’
      • ‘This variation cannot be met by changing foraging behavior like a period with bad weather.’
      • ‘All of these factors can be very important in the organization of social behavior.’
      • ‘The female strategy has a strong influence on the stability of the male behavior.’
      • ‘He was simply mirroring my behavior, responding in kind to whatever I was doing.’
      • ‘There have been documented cases of strange animal behavior prior to earthquakes.’
      • ‘If you treat them like animals, their behavior will begin to deteriorate.’
      • ‘Man's truly instinctive behaviours were apparently fewer and simpler than those of his relatives.’
      • ‘These have been identified as basic modes of behavior in other conflict situations.’
      • ‘It's not surprising that the social behavior of humans and chimps is similar, he said.’
      • ‘Very little is actually known about the movement behaviours of these animals.’
      • ‘Few other studies have correlated the influence of the full moon with behaviour of animals or insects.’
      • ‘This behaviour certainly did not suggest a bird capable of sustained flight on migration.’
      • ‘Hunger has driven him to abandon all social pretence and he describes his own animal behaviour.’
      • ‘For the life of me, I cannot understand his behaviour in response to the drugs question.’
      • ‘Focal animal sampling was used to collect data on the behavior of captive birds.’
      • ‘Doctors are certainly bad at altering their own behaviour in response to logic.’
      • ‘Migration is an intrinsic behavior of birds that winter in one location and breed in another.’
      • ‘Data on ancient color could tell us about the environment and behavior of animals.’
    2. 1.2 The way in which a natural phenomenon or a machine works or functions.
      ‘the erratic behavior of the old car’
      • ‘We see this as a valuable perspective on reproductive behavior in natural habitats.’
      • ‘This is so the otters' food can be hidden to encourage their natural foraging behaviour.’
      • ‘Children may have to suppress their natural behaviours and tendencies to conform and fit in, which can cause undue distress.’
      • ‘Ants exemplify many behaviors and phenomena which are common to other insect species.’
      • ‘In times of crisis, companies tend to fall back on their habitual patterns of behavior.’
      • ‘The behavior of the machine is fascinating, but it has little to do with the concept of counting.’
      • ‘Perhaps this is because they mimic evolved solutions, so their behaviour seems more natural.’
      • ‘Failing to do that leaves the system open to potential behavior that falls short of the mark.’
      • ‘When staff became concerned by his erratic behaviour and obscene language they called police.’
      • ‘The variability of behaviors in natural settings may be a result of several factors.’
      • ‘Soon though, my growing depression and erratic behaviour put a terrible strain on our love.’
      • ‘In addition, the meaning of many social and emotional behaviours may not become apparent until the child is older.’
      • ‘Knowing these natural instincts and behaviors can give you some insight training your cat.’
      • ‘I gave up after much erratic behaviour on her part and distanced myself from fear.’
      • ‘You only understand how human behavior functions if you look at both sides.’
      • ‘In fact operating transnationally should be a natural and normal behaviour.’
      • ‘Mary's frustration turned into rage, and her behavior became increasingly erratic.’
      • ‘What would a roomful of machines exhibiting this behavior sound like?’
      functioning, action, performance, operation, working, running, reaction, response
      View synonyms

Phrases

  • be on one's best behavior

    • Behave well when being observed.

      ‘warn them to be on their best behavior’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I took her to the office yesterday, just to show her off; she was on her best behavior, cheerfully waving and grinning at all.’
      • ‘We all know that when the relatives get together and have a few beers the stories are funnier and more interesting than when everyone is on their best behaviour.’
      • ‘Well done to all the pupils who were on their best behaviour on the night.’
      • ‘I'll only say that everyone was on their best behavior.’
      • ‘Fans have been warned to be on their best behaviour as police have said that any trouble could lead to future exclusions.’
      • ‘Yes indeed, we'll be on our best behaviour for a week as Hilary's mum arrives tomorrow lunchtime.’
      • ‘I was told to be on my best behaviour, as to not upset Uncle Charlie.’
      • ‘But, he was on his best behaviour on the day he became an Olympian.’

Origin

Late Middle English: from behave, on the pattern of demeanour, and influenced by obsolete haviour from have.

Pronunciation

behavior

/bəˈheɪvjər//bəˈhāvyər/