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in the act

1

In the process of doing something. For example, The police caught the robber in the act, or I was in the act of closing the window. [Second half of 1600s]

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2

Performing sexual intercourse, as in Her father caught them in the act. [Late 1500s]

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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