Act

Definition of Act

Pronunciation: ăkt
n.1.That which is done or doing; the exercise of power, or the effect, of which power exerted is the cause; a performance; a deed.
That best portion of a good man's life,
His little, nameless, unremembered acts
Of kindness and of love.
- Wordsworth.
2.A state of reality or real existence as opposed to a possibility or possible existence.
The seeds of plants are not at first in act, but in possibility, what they afterward grow to be.
- Hooker.
3.Process of doing; action. In act, in the very doing; on the point of (doing).
This woman was taken . . . in the very act.
- John viii. 4.
Act of attainder
(Law) See Attainder.
Act of bankruptcy
(Law) an act of a debtor which renders him liable to be adjudged a bankrupt.
Act of faith
(Ch. Hist.) See Auto-da-Fé.
Act of God
(Law) an inevitable accident; such extraordinary interruption of the usual course of events as is not to be looked for in advance, and against which ordinary prudence could not guard.
Act of grace
an expression often used to designate an act declaring pardon or amnesty to numerous offenders, as at the beginning of a new reign.
Act of indemnity
a statute passed for the protection of those who have committed some illegal act subjecting them to penalties.
Act in pais
a thing done out of court (anciently, in the country), and not a matter of record.
- Abbott.
v. t.1.To move to action; to actuate; to animate.
[imp. & p. p. Acted; p. pr. & vb. n. Acting.]
Self-love, the spring of motion, acts the soul.
- Pope.
2.To perform; to execute; to do.
That we act our temporal affairs with a desire no greater than our necessity.
- Jer. Taylor.
Industry doth beget by producing good habits, and facility of acting things expedient for us to do.
- Barrow.
Uplifted hands that at convenient times
Could act extortion and the worst of crimes.
- Cowper.
3.To perform, as an actor; to represent dramatically on the stage.
4.To assume the office or character of; to play; to personate; as, to act the hero.
5.To feign or counterfeit; to simulate.
With acted fear the villain thus pursued.
- Dryden.
To act a part
to sustain the part of one of the characters in a play; hence, to simulate; to dissemble.
To act the part of
to take the character of; to fulfill the duties of.
v. i.1.To exert power; to produce an effect; as, the stomach acts upon food.
2.To perform actions; to fulfill functions; to put forth energy; to move, as opposed to remaining at rest; to carry into effect a determination of the will.
He hangs between, in doubt to act or rest.
- Pope.
3.To behave or conduct, as in morals, private duties, or public offices; to bear or deport one's self; as, we know not why he has acted so.
4.To perform on the stage; to represent a character.
To show the world how Garrick did not act.
- Cowper.
To act as
to do the work of; to serve as.
To act on
to regulate one's conduct according to.
To act up to
to equal in action; to fulfill in practice; as, he has acted up to his engagement or his advantages.

Related Words

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