[ akt ]
/ ækt /
the process of doing: caught in the act.
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.
an instrument or document stating something done or transacted.
one of the main divisions of a play or opera: the second act of Hamlet.
a short performance by one or more entertainers, usually part of a variety show or radio or television program.
the personnel of such a group: The act broke up after 30 years.
Philosophy. (in scholasticism)
- 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)
to do something; exert energy or force; be employed or operative: He acted promptly in the emergency.
to reach, make, or issue a decision on some matter: I am required to act before noon tomorrow.
to operate or function in a particular way; perform specific duties or functions: to act as manager.
to produce an effect; perform a function: The medicine failed to act.
to behave or conduct oneself in a particular fashion: to act well under all conditions.
to pretend; feign: Act interested even if you're bored.
to perform as an actor: He acted in three plays by Molière.
to be capable of being performed: His plays don't act well.
to serve or substitute (usually followed by for): In my absence the assistant manager will act for me.
verb (used with object)
act on / upon
- 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.
get / have one's act together Informal. to organize one's time, job, resources, etc., so as to function efficiently: The new administration is still getting its act together.
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Idioms for act
act funny, to display eccentric or suspicious behavior.
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.
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.
Origin of act
First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English act(e) (from Middle French ), from Latin ācta, plural of āctum “something done,” noun use of past participle of agere “to do” (āg- past participle stem + -tum neuter past participle suffix); and directly from Latin āctus “a doing” (āg- + -tus suffix of verbal action)
synonym study for act
1. See action.
OTHER WORDS FROM act
mis·act, verb (used without object)postact, nounpre·act, verb (used with object)un·act·ed, adjective
Definition for act (2 of 3)
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.
Association of Classroom Teachers.
Australian Capital Territory.
Definition for act (3 of 3)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020
British Dictionary definitions for act (1 of 3)
/ (ækt) /
something done or performed; a deed
the performance of some physical or mental process; action
(capital when part of a name) the formally codified result of deliberation by a legislative body; a law, edict, decree, statute, etc
(often plural) a formal written record of transactions, proceedings, etc, as of a society, committee, or legislative body
a major division of a dramatic work
- 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
an assumed attitude or pose, esp one intended to impress
philosophy an occurrence effected by the volition of a human agent, usually opposed at least as regards its explanation to one which is causally determinedCompare event (def. 4)
(intr) to do something; carry out an action
(intr) to function in a specified way; operate; reacthis mind acted quickly
to perform (a part or role) in a play, etc
(tr) to present (a play, etc) on stage
(intr; usually foll by for or as) to be a substitute (for); function in place (of)
(intr foll by as) to serve the function or purpose (of)the glass acted as protection
(intr) to conduct oneself or behave (as if one were)she usually acts like a lady
(intr) to behave in an unnatural or affected way
(copula) to pose as; play the part ofto act the fool
(copula) to behave in a manner appropriate to (esp in the phrase act one's age)
(copula) not standard to seem or pretend to beto act tired
clean up one's act to start to behave in a responsible manner
get in on the act informal to become involved in a profitable undertaking or advantageous situation in order to share in the benefits
get one's act together informal to become organized or prepared
Derived forms of actactable, adjectiveactability, noun
Word Origin for act
C14: from Latin actus a doing, performance, and actum a thing done, from the past participle of agere to do
British Dictionary definitions for act (2 of 3)
Australian Capital Territory
(formerly in Britain) advance corporation tax
British Dictionary definitions for act (3 of 3)
/ (ækt) /
n acronym for
(in New Zealand) Association of Consumers and Taxpayers: a small political party of the right
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.