Definition for acting (2 of 2)
- 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
Examples from the Web for acting
Even the hot Jewish women I mentioned above did something a bit more “intellectual” than pageantry: acting.Why Was Bess Myerson the First and Last Jewish Miss America?|Emily Shire|January 7, 2015|DAILY BEAST
This is acting in every sense of the word—bringing an unevolved animal to life and making it utterly believable.Oscars 2015: The Daily Beast’s Picks, From Scarlett Johansson to ‘Boyhood’|Marlow Stern|January 6, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Acting legend talks about what role is closest to her heart.
To judge her acting abilities for yourself, check out her videos on YouTube for “Sex Shooter.”Speed Read: The Juiciest Bits From the History of ‘Purple Rain’|Jennie Yabroff|January 1, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Bratton was not ready to say that Brinsley was acting as part of a group or as anything but a lone monster.
Acting on this suggestion, we turned back and cantered round to the other side of the cover.Sporting Society, Vol. II (of 2)|Various
Again I trod on air—and yet—and yet—I felt that I was acting like a fool.A Frontier Mystery|Bertram Mitford
Yet, in thus yielding to necessity, she did so protesting that she was acting under compulsion.History of the Reign of Philip the Second, King of Spain.|William H. Prescott
Mrs. Eastham was acting as chaperon to the girl, and some heated words passed between her and the two young men.The Stowmarket Mystery|Louis Tracy
Horace Hibbs, acting as official timer, squinted inquiringly at the two teams.The Boy Scouts of Lakeville High|Leslie W. Quirk
British Dictionary definitions for acting (1 of 4)
British Dictionary definitions for acting (2 of 4)
British Dictionary definitions for acting (3 of 4)
n acronym for
British Dictionary definitions for acting (4 of 4)
- 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
Word Origin and History for acting (1 of 4)
1590s, "putting forth activity," present participle adjective from act (v.). Meaning "performing temporary duties" is from 1797.
Word Origin and History for acting (1 of 4)
c.1600, "performance of deeds;" 1660s, "performance of plays;" verbal noun from present participle of act (v.). Acting out in psychology is from 1945.
Word Origin and History for acting (2 of 4)
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.
Word Origin and History for acting (3 of 4)
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]
Idioms and Phrases with acting
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