This is one I’ve wondered about for years but never paused to look up. Behave. As a kid, I would often joke that I was “being have.” And I would always wonder what, exactly, “have” was, LOL. Well, I recently said something similar to my kids and decided to look it up.

As it happens, it isn’t some weird word spelled h-a-v-e but that rhymes with “knave.” It’s actually just plain ol’ have. Like, has, have, had type of have. So where in the world did this behave word come from??

Apparently be + have was created as a sort of word that means “to have oneself in control.” To bear yourself a certain way. It dates from the early 1400s and evolved from Old English behabban, with meant “to constrain.” That sense of controlling something carried through.

So there we have it. If you’re behaving, you aren’t being something called have that has some ancient meaning of goodness. 😉 You’re being in control of yourself.

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