View synonyms for act



[ akt ]


  1. anything done, being done, or to be done; deed; performance:

    a heroic act.

    Synonyms: accomplishment, transaction, achievement, exploit, feat

  2. the process of doing:

    caught in the act.

  3. a formal decision, law, or the like, by a legislature, ruler, court, or other authority; decree or edict; statute; judgment, resolve, or award:

    an act of Congress.

  4. an instrument or document stating something done or transacted.

    Synonyms: record

  5. one of the main divisions of a play or opera:

    the second act of Hamlet.

  6. a short performance by one or more entertainers, usually part of a variety show or radio or television program.

    Synonyms: routine, turn

  7. the personnel of such a group:

    The act broke up after 30 years.

  8. false show; pretense; feint:

    The politician's pious remarks were all an act.

  9. Philosophy. (in scholasticism)
    1. activity in process; operation.
    2. the principle or power of operation.
    3. form as determining essence.
    4. a state of realization, as opposed to potentiality.

verb (used without object)

  1. to do something; exert energy or force; be employed or operative:

    He acted promptly in the emergency.

    Synonyms: play, work, function, perform

  2. to reach, make, or issue a decision on some matter:

    I am required to act before noon tomorrow.

    Synonyms: play, work, function, perform

  3. to operate or function in a particular way; perform specific duties or functions:

    to act as manager.

    Synonyms: play, work, function, perform

  4. to produce an effect; perform a function:

    The medicine failed to act.

    Synonyms: play, work, function, perform

  5. to behave or conduct oneself in a particular fashion:

    to act well under all conditions.

  6. to pretend; feign:

    Act interested even if you're bored.

  7. to perform as an actor:

    He acted in three plays by Molière.

  8. to be capable of being performed:

    His plays don't act well.

  9. to serve or substitute (usually followed by for ):

    In my absence the assistant manager will act for me.

verb (used with object)

  1. to represent (a fictitious or historical character) with one's person:

    to act Macbeth.

    Synonyms: play

  2. to act outraged virtue.

  3. to behave as:

    He acted the fool.

    Synonyms: play

  4. Obsolete. to actuate.

verb phrase

    1. to act in accordance with; follow:

      He acted on my advice.

    2. to have an effect on; affect:

      The stirring music acted on the emotions of the audience.

    1. to demonstrate or illustrate by pantomime or by words and gestures:

      The party guests acted out stories for one another.

    2. Psychology. to give overt expression to (repressed emotions or impulses) without insightful understanding:

      The patients acted out early traumas by getting angry with the analyst.

  1. Informal. to organize one's time, job, resources, etc., so as to function efficiently:

    The new administration is still getting its act together.

    1. to fail to function properly; malfunction:

      The vacuum cleaner is acting up again.

    2. to behave willfully:

      The children always act up in school the day before a holiday.

    3. to become painful or troublesome, especially after a period of improvement or remission:

      My arthritis is acting up again this morning.


  1. Trademark. a standardized college admissions test developed by ACT, Inc., measuring English, mathematics, reading, and science skills: originally an abbreviation of American College Testing/American College Test. Compare SAT.
  2. Association of Classroom Teachers.
  3. Australian Capital Territory.



abbreviation for

  1. acting.
  2. active.
  3. actor.
  4. actual.



abbreviation for

  1. Australian Capital Territory
  2. (formerly in Britain) advance corporation tax



/ ækt /


  1. something done or performed; a deed
  2. the performance of some physical or mental process; action
  3. capital when part of a name the formally codified result of deliberation by a legislative body; a law, edict, decree, statute, etc
  4. often plural a formal written record of transactions, proceedings, etc, as of a society, committee, or legislative body
  5. a major division of a dramatic work
    1. a short performance of skill, a comic sketch, dance, etc, esp one that is part of a programme of light entertainment
    2. those giving such a performance
  6. an assumed attitude or pose, esp one intended to impress
  7. philosophy an occurrence effected by the volition of a human agent, usually opposed at least as regards its explanation to one which is causally determined Compare event


  1. intr to do something; carry out an action
  2. intr to function in a specified way; operate; react

    his mind acted quickly

  3. to perform (a part or role) in a play, etc
  4. tr to present (a play, etc) on stage
  5. intr; usually foll by for or as to be a substitute (for); function in place (of)
  6. intrfoll byas to serve the function or purpose (of)

    the glass acted as protection

  7. intr to conduct oneself or behave (as if one were)

    she usually acts like a lady

  8. intr to behave in an unnatural or affected way
  9. copula to pose as; play the part of

    to act the fool

  10. copula to behave in a manner appropriate to (esp in the phrase act one's age )
  11. not_standard.
    copula to seem or pretend to be

    to act tired

  12. clean up one's act
    to start to behave in a responsible manner
  13. get in on the act informal.
    to become involved in a profitable undertaking or advantageous situation in order to share in the benefits
  14. get one's act together informal.
    to become organized or prepared



/ ækt /

acronym for

  1. (in New Zealand) Association of Consumers and Taxpayers: a small political party of the right
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Derived Forms

  • ˈactable, adjective
  • ˌactaˈbility, noun
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Other Words From

  • mis·act verb (used without object)
  • postact noun
  • pre·act verb (used with object)
  • un·acted adjective
  • well-acted adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of act1

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English act(e), from Middle French, from Latin ācta, plural of āctum “something done,” noun use of neuter past participle of agere “to do, drive”; also from Latin āctus “deed,” noun use of masculine past participle of agere
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Word History and Origins

Origin of act1

C14: from Latin actus a doing, performance, and actum a thing done, from the past participle of agere to do
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Idioms and Phrases

  1. act funny, to display eccentric or suspicious behavior.
  2. act one's age, to behave in a manner appropriate to one's maturity:

    We children enjoyed our uncle because he didn't always act his age.

  3. clean up one's act, Informal. to begin adhering to more acceptable practices, rules of behavior, etc.:

    The factory must clean up its act and treat its employees better.

More idioms and phrases containing act

  • catch in the act
  • clean up (one's act)
  • do a disappearing act
  • get in the act
  • get one's act together
  • hard (tough) act to follow
  • high-wire act
  • in the act of
  • put on an act
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Synonym Study

See action.
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Example Sentences

Some adherents of QAnon are running for public office, but some others have committed violent acts or threatened them, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

From Fortune

With Election Day just seven weeks away, the act is unlikely to become law during this session of Congress.

On July 31, the weekly $600 unemployment checks that were sent out thanks to the CARES act officially expired.

From Fortune

Every eligible voter’s vote should be counted and not canceled out by fraudulent acts.

The governor should forget about it until after the pandemic and legislators get their acts back together.

A spokesman for Lewisham council said last year that it would be forced to act if the family returned to Britain.

Every once in a while, they act swiftly and acknowledge the problem.

That act forever sealed his feeling for the Chief, bound it up with the war, with violence, with the gun.

The Samaritan guidelines are written around the assumption that suicide is a purely irrational act, an act spurred by illness.

But the act of killing herself done, the message was sent, and heard, and things started changing.

He caught himself in the act of listening to you too credulously—and that seemed to him unmanly and dishonorable.

He was aware that his act by this time, had helped nobody, had made no one happy or satisfied—not even himself.

He had, however, recovered sufficiently to enable him to act with promptitude and discretion.

This seems to be contrary to the spirit and intent of the act, which is primarily to centralize reserves in Federal Reserve Banks.

The Act permits member banks to accept an amount of bills not exceeding 50 per cent.


Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.




A/cs rec.acta