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Is it “Behaviour” or “Behavior”?

"Behaviour" or "Behavior"

Last updated on February 12th, 2024 at 07:20 pm



Behaviour or behaviour, which is the correct spelling? It’s a bit of a trick question because the answer depends on geography (as you may have guessed … if you’ve been keeping up with your regularly scheduled grammar-flexing!)



Behaviour vs. behavior

Behaviour and behavior are two spellings of the same word noun and verb meaning, the way that someone acts or the things they do; e.g., parents can influence the behaviour/behavior of their children.

  • UK English spells “behaviour” with the “u”.

  • US English spells “behavior” without “u”.



Other “-our”/”-or” words

Other words that share the “-our” / “-or” suffix follow the same spelling conventions:

UK EnglishUS English
favourfavor
labourlabor
behaviourbehavior
colourcolor
neighbourneighbor
endeavourendeavor



Other forms of the word behaviour

Other forms of the word also follow the same spelling conventions based on US/UK English:

US Englishbehaviorally, behavioral.
UK Englishbehaviourally, behavioural.



Sentence examples with behaviour/behavior

His behaviour/behavior towards her was becoming more and more aggressive.

I noticed a change in his behaviour/behavior.

I know you were upset, but that doesn’t excuse your behaviour/behavior.

We were grateful for the gracious behaviour/behavior of our hostess.



Origin of the word

From Etymonline on behaviour:

“manner of behaving (whether good or bad), conduct, manners,” late 15c., essentially from behave, but with ending from Middle English havour “possession,” a word altered (by influence of have) from aver, noun use of Old French verb aveir “to have.”



Learn more about US English vs. UK English



Sources

  1. Harper, Douglas. “Etymology of behaviour.” Online Etymology Dictionary, Accessed 16 January, 2024.


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