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
  1. verb
    behave in a certain manner; show a certain behavior; conduct or comport oneself
    “Don't behave like a fool”
    synonyms: 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
  2. verb
    behave in a certain manner
    synonyms: 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)
  3. verb
    behave well or properly
    “The children must learn to behave
    synonyms: comport
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    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)
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