Nearby words

  1. acrylic fibre,
  2. acrylic resin,
  3. acrylonitrile,
  4. acrylyl,
  5. acrylyl group,
  6. act call,
  7. act curtain,
  8. act of contrition,
  9. act of faith,
  10. act of god


Origin of act

1350–1400; Middle English act(e) (< Middle French) < 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 < Latin āctus a doing (āg- + -tus suffix of v. action)

1. feat, exploit; achievement; transaction; accomplishment. See action. 4. record. 6. turn, routine. 10–13. perform, function, work. play. 19, 21 play.

Related forms


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.

Acts of the Apostles


a book of the New Testament.
Also called Acts. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for acts

British Dictionary definitions for acts



abbreviation for

Australian Capital Territory
(formerly in Britain) advance corporation tax



n acronym for

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

Acts of the Apostles


the fifth book of the New Testament, describing the development of the early Church from Christ's ascension into heaven to Paul's sojourn at RomeOften shortened to: Acts



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
  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
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
See also act on, act out, act up

Derived Formsactable, 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

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

Word Origin and History for acts
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with acts


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

also see:

  • 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.