- 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
- 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 and History for preaction
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 preaction
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