be well behaved

  • anthox

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    In normal speech, "to behave" is always intransitive, it doesn't take an object.

    The child behaved. :tick:
    The mother behaved the child. :cross:

    I presume by "well behaved" the writer means, "If the calculation completes as it is supposed to." Unless this is a specific programming term I am unfamiliar with.


    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Can you explain in your own words what the context is here?

    The sentence seems to be saying if that the calculation itself is well behaved, in which case the output or result will have the following chacteristics.


    American English
    In the context of that technical document, "well behaved" seems to mean "produces results within the expected tolerance range."


    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    You would expect it to be from a noun, so :cross:'well behavioured'. In fact the OED does refer it back to an obsolete noun 'behave', but their one quote for that word is a bit later than the earliest quote for adjectival 'behaved', so that's doubtful.

    'Well behaved' is common in mathematics: "exhibiting good behaviour", such as not having any places where it shoots off to infinity, or not wildly oscillating, or having limits from above and below behaving the way limits should.

    Cross-posted: No, 'behaved' is not used like this on its own, only 'well behaved', 'badly behaved'.
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