from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The manner in which one acts or behaves.
  • noun The actions or reactions of a person or animal in response to external or internal stimuli.
  • noun One of these actions or reactions.
  • noun The manner in which something functions or operates.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Manner of behaving, whether good or bad; conduct; mode of acting; manners; deportment: sometimes, when used absolutely, implying good breeding or proper deportment.
  • noun Figuratively, the manner in which anything acts or operates.
  • noun The act of representing another person; the manner in which one personates the character of another; representative character.
  • noun In a state of probation; liable to be called to account in case of misconduct.
  • noun Synonyms Carriage, Behavior, Conduct, Deportment, Demeanor, bearing, manner, manners, all denote primarily outward manner or conduct, but naturally are freely extended to internal states or activities. Carriage, the way of carrying one's self, may be mere physical attitude, or it may be personal manners, as expressing states of mind: we speak of a haughty or noble carriage, but not ordinarily of an ignoble, cringing, or base carriage. Behavior is the most general expression of one's mode of acting; it also refers particularly to comparatively conspicuous actions and conduct. Conduct is more applicable to actions viewed as connected into a course of life, especially to actions considered with reference to morality. Deportment is especially behavior in the line of the proprieties or duties of life: as, Mr. Turveydrop was a model of deportment; the scholars' rank depends partly upon their deportment. Demeanor is most used for manners as expressing character; it is a more delicate word than the others, and is generally used in a good sense. We may speak of lofty or gracious carriage; good, bad, wise, foolish, modest, conceited behavior; exemplary conduct; grand, modest, correct deportment; quiet, refined demeanor.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Manner of behaving, whether good or bad; mode of conducting one's self; conduct; deportment; carriage; -- used also of inanimate objects.
  • noun to be in a state of trial, in which something important depends on propriety of conduct.
  • noun while (or so long as) one conducts one's self with integrity and fidelity or with propriety.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Alternative form of behaviour.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun (behavioral attributes) the way a person behaves toward other people
  • noun manner of acting or controlling yourself
  • noun (psychology) the aggregate of the responses or reactions or movements made by an organism in any situation
  • noun the action or reaction of something (as a machine or substance) under specified circumstances


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English behavour, from behaven, to behave (on the model of havour, behavior, from Old French avoir, from avoir, to have); see behave.]


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  • Please help me. There are many different kinds of behavior, behaviour' the spell-checker prefers the UK version!.

    I would like to know how best to describe these units as a kind of phrase. They are not noun or verb phrases, nor do they sound like prepositional phrases.

    We may talk of 'addictive (behavior, behaviour'); dependent (behavior, behaviour'); dysfunctional (behavior, behaviour'); family (behavior, behaviour'); group (behavior, behaviour') ...

    Thank you.

    February 27, 2012