Definition of misbehave in US English:



[no object]
  • 1(of a person, especially a child) fail to conduct oneself in a way that is acceptable to others; behave badly.

    • ‘There is no regard here for the fact that the child is actually behaving well - he is playing with an acceptable toy and not misbehaving.’
    • ‘In this family home, the boys misbehave, don't listen to their mum and dad and get into trouble at school.’
    • ‘Concerned community members met on Wednesday night to find a way to address the growing problem of vandalism and teenagers misbehaving in the town.’
    • ‘Police are planning to make parents sit down and watch videos of their own children misbehaving in a bid to curb vandalism, under-age drinking, violence and abusive behaviour.’
    • ‘It also apologises to those whose children are not misbehaving.’
    • ‘Sadly, some people indulge in drunken misbehaviour - abusing people, walking through the middle of the road without giving way to vehicles and misbehaving with women and children.’
    • ‘To her dismay after a parent/teacher meeting, she found all three were misbehaving in school and their grades had dropped.’
    • ‘She reaches the conclusion that, because some students (the vast minority) misbehave, it is acceptable to treat all students however the city pleases.’
    • ‘Twelve more youths have signed acceptable behaviour contracts - if they misbehave further, police will take further action.’
    • ‘They need to be supported to behave well, not punished for misbehaving.’
    • ‘In most cases, when the children misbehave they are abused and the real problem is never addressed with love and affection.’
    • ‘They said girls often misbehaved more subtly and were harder to manage by established methods aimed at aggressive male behaviour.’
    • ‘You know how, when you see a child or toddler misbehaving, you get really angry at the parents for not controlling her?’
    • ‘Officers hope the incriminating footage will change the attitudes of parents unconvinced their children are misbehaving, helping to stem juvenile crime on the housing estate.’
    • ‘If children are misbehaving, then we should put fixed fines on their parents.’
    • ‘The outside world sees what is, apparently, a child misbehaving or throwing a tantrum.’
    • ‘We have Christmas parties and days out, and it is nice not to be embarrassed when your child misbehaves or is acting badly.’
    • ‘Remember when your Kindergarten teacher would punish the whole class because one kid misbehaved during recess?’
    • ‘After having asked the children twice to stop misbehaving he decided to take them back to school.’
    • ‘In some schools it is common not to be consulted if a child is misbehaving until it gets to the point when it has become very bad.’
    behave badly, be misbehaved, be bad, be naughty, be disobedient, get up to mischief, get up to no good, misconduct oneself, forget oneself, be guilty of misconduct
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    1. 1.1 (of a machine) fail to function correctly.
      ‘her regularly serviced car was misbehaving’
      • ‘It must, for instance, reduce priorities and resources to processes that misbehave.’
      • ‘This configuration incurred a lot of overhead on each node to run any sort of application, and managing misbehaving processes was a rather draconian matter.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, a misbehaving sensor - the GM engineer did not know which one - would cause the drivetrain to shut down from time to time.’
      • ‘Radiation also differs from that encountered on Earth and in space, heavy particles make digital electronics misbehave or even burn.’
      • ‘One such misbehaving program might fork too many processes too quickly.’
      • ‘A bug in AIM's URL handler means that the function misbehaves when it receives very long messages.’
      • ‘However, if a service starts misbehaving, it can be flagged as either WARNING, ERROR or CRITICAL.’
      • ‘If the electron flux is high enough and persists for long enough, then electrical discharges occur that cause satellites to misbehave and sometimes fail.’
      • ‘They've got a separate monitor process, and if it sees its sub-process misbehaving, runs an algorithm and decides what to do, then does it.’
      • ‘Audience members make dumb choices, computer screens misbehave and the two deliver gently encouraging corrections with perfect old-school timing.’