- the process or state of acting or of being active: The machine is not in action now.
- something done or performed; act; deed.
- an act that one consciously wills and that may be characterized by physical or mental activity: a crisis that demands action instead of debate; hoping for constructive action by the landlord.
- actions, habitual or usual acts; conduct: He is responsible for his actions.
- energetic activity: a man of action.
- an exertion of power or force: the action of wind upon a ship's sails.
- effect or influence: the action of morphine.
- Physiology. a change in organs, tissues, or cells leading to performance of a function, as in muscular contraction.
- way or manner of moving: the action of a machine or of a horse.
- the mechanism by which something is operated, as that of a gun or a piano.
- a military encounter or engagement; battle, skirmish, or the like.
- actual engagement in fighting an enemy; military or naval combat: He saw action in Vietnam.
- Literature. the main subject or story, as distinguished from an incidental episode.
- an event or series of events that form part of a dramatic plot: the action of a scene.
- one of the three unities.Compare unity(def 8).
- the gestures or deportment of an actor or speaker.
- Fine Arts. the appearance of animation, movement, or emotion given to figures by their attitude, position, or expression.
- a proceeding instituted by one party against another.
- the right of bringing it.
- interesting or exciting activity, often of an illicit nature: He gave us some tips on where the action was.
- gambling or the excitement of gambling: The casino usually offers plenty of action.
- money bet in gambling, especially illegally.
- a religious ceremony, especially a Eucharistic service.
- the canon of the Mass.
- those parts of a service of worship in which the congregation participates.
- characterized by brisk or dynamic action: an action car; an action melodrama.
- in action,
- performing or taking part in a characteristic act: The school baseball team is in action tonight.
- working; functioning: His rescuing the child was bravery in action.
- out of action, removed from action, as by sudden disability: The star halfback is out of action with a bad knee.
- piece of the action, Informal. a share of the proceeds or profits: Cut me in for a piece of the action.
- take action,
- to start doing something: As soon as we get his decision, we'll take action.
- to start a legal procedure.
Origin of action
Synonyms for actionSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Antonyms for action
- an independent agency created in 1971 to administer domestic volunteer programs.
Origin of ACTION
Related Words for actionreaction, life, force, deal, process, plan, activity, operation, response, movement, maneuver, move, step, exercise, act, performance, effort, procedure, case, litigation
Examples from the Web for action
Contemporary Examples of action
This is where much of the action will be for anti-LGBT groups.‘Only God’ Can Stop Gay Marriage
January 6, 2015
Consider Nurse-Family Partnership, one of the best examples of evidence in action.Can the U.S. Government Go Moneyball?
Peter Orszag, Jim Nussle
December 23, 2014
That action ignited protests that rocked Wisconsin and spurred a recall—only the second recall of a governor in U.S. history.The Next Phase of the Koch Brothers’ War on Unions
Carl Deal and Tia Lessin
December 22, 2014
It is the right number for an action comedy which we want to have enough good action to work internationally.Inside Sony’s ‘Pineapple Express 2 Drama’: Leaked Emails Reveal Fight Over Stoner Comedy Sequel
December 21, 2014
But I am deeply concerned with the lack of progress in my case and feel that I must take some action.An American Marine in Iran’s Prisons Goes on Hunger Strike
December 18, 2014
Historical Examples of action
I'm going back there, and get things in action, and I'm going to stay by them.
She was apt not only to know what she talked about, but she was a woman of resource, unafraid of action.
Thoroughbred is the word for her, style and action, as the horse people say, perfect.
Plainly, too, he was a man of action and a man who engaged all her instinctive liking.
Upon this as a platform of purpose and of action we can stand together.
- the state or process of doing something or being active; operation
- something done, such as an act or deed
- movement or posture during some physical activity
- activity, force, or energya man of action
- (usually plural) conduct or behaviour
- a legal proceeding brought by one party against another, seeking redress of a wrong or recovery of what is due; lawsuit
- the right to bring such a proceeding
- the operating mechanism, esp in a piano, gun, watch, etc
- (of a guitar) the distance between the strings and the fingerboard
- (of keyboard instruments) the sensitivity of the keys to touch
- the force applied to a bodythe reaction is equal and opposite to the action
- the way in which something operates or works
- out of action not functioning
- a property of a system expressed as twice the mean kinetic energy of the system over a given time interval multiplied by the time interval
- the product of work or energy and time, usually expressed in joule secondsPlanck's constant of action
- the events that form the plot of a story, film, play, or other composition
- a minor engagement
- fighting at sea or on landhe saw action in the war
- philosophy behaviour which is voluntary and explicable in terms of the agent's reasons, as contrasted with that which is coerced or determined causally
- British short for industrial action
- informal the profits of an enterprise or transaction (esp in the phrase a piece of the action)
- slang the main activity, esp social activity
- to put into effect; take action concerningmatters decided at the meeting cannot be actioned until the following week
- a command given by a film director to indicate that filming is to beginSee also cue 1 (def. 8)
Word Origin for action
Word Origin and History for action
mid-14c., "cause or grounds for a lawsuit," from Anglo-French accioun, Old French accion (12c.) "action, lawsuit, case," from Latin actionem (nominative actio) "a putting in motion; a performing, doing," noun of action from past participle stem of agere "to do" (see act (v.)). Sense of "something done, an act, deed" is late 14c. Meaning "fighting" is from c.1600. As a film director's command, it is attested from 1923. Meaning "excitement" is recorded from 1968. Phrase actions speak louder than words is attested from 1731.
- The state or process of acting or doing.
- A deed.
- A change that occurs in the body or in a bodily organ as a result of its functioning.
- Exertion of force or power.
Idioms and Phrases with action
In addition to the idioms beginning with action
- actions speak louder than words
- all talk and no action
- piece of the action
- swing into action