- activity in process; operation.
- the principle or power of operation.
- form as determining essence.
- a state of realization, as opposed to potentiality.
verb (used without object)
verb (used with object)
- to act in accordance with; follow: He acted on my advice.
- to have an effect on; affect: The stirring music acted on the emotions of the audience.
- to demonstrate or illustrate by pantomime or by words and gestures: The party guests acted out stories for one another.
- 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.
- to fail to function properly; malfunction: The vacuum cleaner is acting up again.
- to behave willfully: The children always act up in school the day before a holiday.
- to become painful or troublesome, especially after a period of improvement or remission: My arthritis is acting up again this morning.
Origin of act
Definition for act (2 of 3)
Definition for act (3 of 3)
Examples from the Web for act
A spokesman for Lewisham council said last year that it would be forced to act if the family returned to Britain.Britain May Spy on Preschoolers Searching for Potential Jihadis|Nico Hines|January 7, 2015|DAILY BEAST
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 Story Behind Lee Marvin’s Liberty Valance Smile|Robert Ward|January 3, 2015|DAILY BEAST
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.
"We've got to act as if we owned the earrth," Archer agreed.Tom Slade with the Boys Over There|Percy K. Fitzhugh
Like rats, mice appear to act in companies, either under leadership or by common consent.Natural History in Anecdote|Various
The young idlers of rich Palermo intrigued to be introduced to her and threw enormous nosegays to her at the end of every act.Corleone|F. Marion Crawford
For we would keep the theory in mind by visible signs, which act most powerfully upon the minds of children.Guide to the Kindergarten and Intermediate Class and Moral Culture of Infancy.|Elizabeth P. Peabody
The undemonstrativeness of the act, so unlike her usual volcanic energy, touched him out of prudence.The Californians|Gertrude Franklin Horn Atherton
British Dictionary definitions for act (1 of 3)
- a short performance of skill, a comic sketch, dance, etc, esp one that is part of a programme of light entertainment
- those giving such a performance
Word Origin for act
British Dictionary definitions for act (2 of 3)
British Dictionary definitions for act (3 of 3)
n acronym for
Word Origin and History for act (1 of 2)
late 14c., "a thing done," from Old French acte "(official) document," and directly from Latin actus "a doing, a driving, impulse; a part in a play, act," and actum "a thing done," originally a legal term, both from agere "to do, set in motion, drive, urge, chase, stir up," from PIE root *ag- "to drive, draw out or forth, move" (cf. Greek agein "to lead, guide, drive, carry off," agon "assembly, contest in the games," agogos "leader;" Sanskrit ajati "drives," ajirah "moving, active;" Old Norse aka "to drive;" Middle Irish ag "battle").
Theatrical ("part of a play," 1510s) and legislative (early 15c.) senses of the word also were in Latin. Meaning "display of exaggerated behavior" is from 1928. In the act "in the process" is from 1590s, perhaps originally from the 16c. sense of the act as "sexual intercourse." Act of God "uncontrollable natural force" recorded by 1726.
An act of God is an accident which arises from a cause which operates without interference or aid from man (1 Pars. on Cont. 635); the loss arising wherefrom cannot be guarded against by the ordinary exertions of human skill and prudence so as to prevent its effect. [William Wait, "General Principles of the Law," Albany, 1879]
Word Origin and History for act (1 of 2)
mid-15c., "to act upon or adjudicate" a legal case; 1590s in the theatrical sense, from Latin actus, past participle of agere (see act (n.)). To act up "be unruly" is from 1903. To act out "behave anti-socially" (1974) is from psychiatric sense of "expressing one's unconscious impulses or desires." Related: Acted; acting.
Idioms and Phrases with act
In addition to the idioms beginning with act
- act of faith
- act of God
- act on
- act one's age
- act out
- act up
- act upon
- 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