The way you act or conduct yourself is how you behave. Teachers and parents often tell kids Behave!

If you follow rules and get along with others, you behave well, while if you are nasty and rude, you behave badly. Behave can suggest acting in a polite manner, as when you tell a child (or an adult) to behave in public. We usually behave differently in different situations — like when no one is watching. If you tell someone "practice what you preach" you are pointing out that the way they behave doesn't quite match up to their words.

Definitions of behave

v behave in a certain manner; show a certain behavior; conduct or comport oneself

“Don't behave like a fool”
act, do
act, act as, play
pretend to have certain qualities or state of mind
act, dissemble, pretend
behave unnaturally or affectedly
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act involuntarily, act reflexively
act in an uncontrolled manner
bend over backwards, fall over backwards
try very hard to please someone
take liberties or act with too much confidence
vulgarise, vulgarize
act in a vulgar manner
optimise, optimize
act as an optimist and take a sunny view of the world
act as a medical quack or a charlatan
act in a threatening manner
act in a certain way so as to acquire
bluster, swagger, swash
act in an arrogant, overly self-assured, or conceited manner
suddenly behave coldly and formally
behave extremely cruelly and brutally
act in a romantic way
sentimentalise, sentimentalize, sentimentise, sentimentize
act in a sentimental way or indulge in sentimental thoughts or expression
spoil by behaving clumsily or foolishly
play, toy
engage in an activity as if it were a game rather than take it seriously
act, act as, play
pretend to have certain qualities or state of mind
act as a stooge, in a compliant or subordinate manner
jest, joke
act in a funny or teasing way
act in a trivial or ineffective way
behave in a certain way
make as if
begin or appear to begin an action
break down, lose it, snap
lose control of one's emotions
dally, dawdle
waste time
display excessive cordiality (towards)
hugger mugger
act stealthily or secretively
behave saucily or impudently towards
act foolishly, as by talking nonsense
frivol, trifle
act frivolously
puff up, swell
become filled with pride, arrogance, or anger
accept and follow the leadership or command or guidance of
loosen up, relax
become less tense, less formal, or less restrained, and assume a friendlier manner
rage, ramp, storm
behave violently, as if in state of a great anger
exhale spasmodically, as when an irritant entered one's nose
blink, nictate, nictitate, wink
briefly shut the eyes
expel intestinal gases through the anus
produce saliva
antic, clown, clown around
act as or like a clown
lose control emotionally
be brought to or as if to the point of death by an intense emotion such as embarrassment, amusement, or shame
fall apart, go to pieces
lose one's emotional or mental composure

v behave in a certain manner

acquit, bear, carry, comport, conduct, deport
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be flustered; behave in a confused manner
assert, put forward
insist on having one's opinions and rights recognized
behave in a certain way towards others
walk around
behave in a certain manner or have certain properties
pose, posture
behave affectedly or unnaturally in order to impress others
attitudinise, attitudinize
assume certain affected attitudes
Type of:
bear, carry, hold
support or hold in a certain manner
act, move
perform an action, or work out or perform (an action)

v behave well or properly

“The children must learn to behave
misbehave, misconduct, misdemean
behave badly
live or behave in a specified manner
assert oneself
put oneself forward in an assertive and insistent manner
remember oneself
recover one's good manners after a lapse or stop behaving badly
Type of:
act, move
perform an action, or work out or perform (an action)