While reading Thomas Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur, in Chapter 25 of Book 8, I came upon this striking sentence:
Ye shall want no thing that you behoveth
My first parsing of it was wrong. When it was written, the nominative second person plural pronoun was “ye” (as at the start of the sentence), so “you” must be the object of the verb “behoveth”. Also, the ending of the verb shows that it is third person singular, so its subject must be “thing (that)”. Changing the word order to a more modern form makes it clearer: “Ye shall want no thing that behoveth you.”
The verb “behove” (correctly pronounced “behoove”) is defined by my Chambers dictionary as “to be fit, right, or necessary”; it can (as here) be a transitive verb. So the sentence means “Ye shall want no thing that is necessary for you”. The best-known occurrence of a derivative word is probably the sentence of Julian of Norwich, used by T. S. Eliot in Four Quartets:
Sin is behovely; but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well
(amazingly optimistic words!)
I fantasised briefly about trying to popularise this word as a mathematical term. We could say, “Continuity behoves differentiability”, or, “For numbers n congruent to 1 or 2 mod 4, being a sum of two squares behoves the existence of a projective plane of order n” (The Bruck–Ryser Theorem).
But I doubt that it will catch on …