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act

[akt] /ækt/
noun
1.
anything done, being done, or to be done; deed; performance:
a heroic act.
2.
the process of doing:
caught in the act.
3.
a formal decision, law, or the like, by a legislature, ruler, court, or other authority; decree or edict; statute; judgment, resolve, or award:
an act of Congress.
4.
an instrument or document stating something done or transacted.
5.
one of the main divisions of a play or opera: the second act of Hamlet.
6.
a short performance by one or more entertainers, usually part of a variety show or radio or television program.
7.
the personnel of such a group:
The act broke up after 30 years.
8.
false show; pretense; feint:
The politician's pious remarks were all an act.
9.
Philosophy.
  1. activity in process; operation.
  2. the principle or power of operation.
  3. form as determining essence.
  4. a state of realization, as opposed to potentiality.
verb (used without object)
10.
to do something; exert energy or force; be employed or operative:
He acted promptly in the emergency.
11.
to reach, make, or issue a decision on some matter:
I am required to act before noon tomorrow.
12.
to operate or function in a particular way; perform specific duties or functions:
to act as manager.
13.
to produce an effect; perform a function:
The medicine failed to act.
14.
to behave or conduct oneself in a particular fashion:
to act well under all conditions.
15.
to pretend; feign:
Act interested even if you're bored.
16.
to perform as an actor:
He acted in three plays by Molière.
17.
to be capable of being performed:
His plays don't act well.
18.
to serve or substitute (usually followed by for):
In my absence the assistant manager will act for me.
verb (used with object)
19.
to represent (a fictitious or historical character) with one's person:
to act Macbeth.
20.
to feign; counterfeit:
to act outraged virtue.
21.
to behave as:
He acted the fool.
22.
Obsolete. to actuate.
Verb phrases
23.
act on/upon,
  1. to act in accordance with; follow:
    He acted on my advice.
  2. to have an effect on; affect:
    The stirring music acted on the emotions of the audience.
24.
act out,
  1. to demonstrate or illustrate by pantomime or by words and gestures:
    The party guests acted out stories for one another.
  2. Psychology. to give overt expression to (repressed emotions or impulses) without insightful understanding:
    The patients acted out early traumas by getting angry with the analyst.
25.
act up,
  1. to fail to function properly; malfunction:
    The vacuum cleaner is acting up again.
  2. to behave willfully:
    The children always act up in school the day before a holiday.
  3. to become painful or troublesome, especially after a period of improvement or remission:
    My arthritis is acting up again this morning.
26.
get/have one's act together, Informal. to organize one's time, job, resources, etc., so as to function efficiently:
The new administration is still getting its act together.
Idioms
27.
act funny, to display eccentric or suspicious behavior.
28.
act one's age, to behave in a manner appropriate to one's maturity:
We children enjoyed our uncle because he didn't always act his age.
29.
clean up one's act, Informal. to begin adhering to more acceptable practices, rules of behavior, etc.:
The factory must clean up its act and treat its employees better.
Origin
1350-1400
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)
Related forms
misact, verb (used without object)
postact, noun
preact, verb (used with object)
unacted, adjective
well-acted, adjective
Can be confused
acts, ask, axe.
Synonyms
1. feat, exploit; achievement; transaction; accomplishment. See action. 4. record. 6. turn, routine. 23–13. perform, function, work. 15, 16. play.

Acts of the Apostles

noun
1.
a book of the New Testament.
Also called Acts.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for acts
  • And the breakfast bay acts as a daylight-catcher that brightens the rest of the kitchen.
  • The one contrasting element is a kitchen island, which acts as a focal point.
  • The breakfast bay acts as a daylight-catcher that brightens the rest of the kitchen.
  • It also acts as a preservative, helping wine age gracefully.
  • The wort acts as a food source for the yeast to feed upon and multiply.
  • To crown my thoughts with acts, be it thought and done.
  • The lower part of the muscle also acts as an adductor and external rotator of the limb.
  • But our own acts, for good or ill, are mightier powers.
  • The salty spray emanating from the ocean acts as an atmospheric cleaner, new research suggests.
  • Morphine acts on a part of the brain known as the opioid system, which is linked to pain, pleasure and addictive behaviors.
British Dictionary definitions for acts

act

/ækt/
noun
1.
something done or performed; a deed
2.
the performance of some physical or mental process; action
3.
(capital when part of a name) the formally codified result of deliberation by a legislative body; a law, edict, decree, statute, etc
4.
(often pl) a formal written record of transactions, proceedings, etc, as of a society, committee, or legislative body
5.
a major division of a dramatic work
6.
  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
7.
an assumed attitude or pose, esp one intended to impress
8.
(philosophy) an occurrence effected by the volition of a human agent, usually opposed at least as regards its explanation to one which is causally determined Compare event (sense 4)
verb
9.
(intransitive) to do something; carry out an action
10.
(intransitive) to function in a specified way; operate; react: his mind acted quickly
11.
to perform (a part or role) in a play, etc
12.
(transitive) to present (a play, etc) on stage
13.
(intransitive; usually foll by for or as) to be a substitute (for); function in place (of)
14.
(intransitive) foll by as. to serve the function or purpose (of): the glass acted as protection
15.
(intransitive) to conduct oneself or behave (as if one were): she usually acts like a lady
16.
(intransitive) to behave in an unnatural or affected way
17.
(copula) to pose as; play the part of: to act the fool
18.
(copula) to behave in a manner appropriate to (esp in the phrase act one's age)
19.
(copula) (not standard) to seem or pretend to be: to act tired
20.
clean up one's act, to start to behave in a responsible manner
21.
(informal) get in on the act, to become involved in a profitable undertaking or advantageous situation in order to share in the benefits
22.
(informal) get one's act together, to become organized or prepared
See also act on, act out, act up
Derived Forms
actable, adjective
actability, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Latin actus a doing, performance, and actum a thing done, from the past participle of agere to do

ACT1

abbreviation
1.
Australian Capital Territory
2.
(formerly in Britain) advance corporation tax

ACT2

/ækt/
noun acronym
1.
(in New Zealand) Association of Consumers and Taxpayers: a small political party of the right

Acts of the Apostles

noun
1.
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 Rome Often shortened to Acts
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
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Word Origin and History for acts

Acts

short for "Acts of the Apostles" in New Testament, from 1530s.

act

n.

late 14c., "a thing done," from Old French acte "(official) document," and directly from Latin actus "a doing, a driving, impulse; a part in a play, act," and actum "a thing done," originally a legal term, both from agere "to do, set in motion, drive, urge, chase, stir up," from PIE root *ag- "to drive, draw out or forth, move" (cf. Greek agein "to lead, guide, drive, carry off," agon "assembly, contest in the games," agogos "leader;" Sanskrit ajati "drives," ajirah "moving, active;" Old Norse aka "to drive;" Middle Irish ag "battle").

Theatrical ("part of a play," 1510s) and legislative (early 15c.) senses of the word also were in Latin. Meaning "display of exaggerated behavior" is from 1928. In the act "in the process" is from 1590s, perhaps originally from the 16c. sense of the act as "sexual intercourse." Act of God "uncontrollable natural force" recorded by 1726.

An act of God is an accident which arises from a cause which operates without interference or aid from man (1 Pars. on Cont. 635); the loss arising wherefrom cannot be guarded against by the ordinary exertions of human skill and prudence so as to prevent its effect. [William Wait, "General Principles of the Law," Albany, 1879]

v.

mid-15c., "to act upon or adjudicate" a legal case; 1590s in the theatrical sense, from Latin actus, past participle of agere (see act (n.)). To act up "be unruly" is from 1903. To act out "behave anti-socially" (1974) is from psychiatric sense of "expressing one's unconscious impulses or desires." Related: Acted; acting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for acts

act

noun
  1. A display of pretended feeling; an affected pretense: His elaborate grief was just an act
  2. A dramatic mimicking; shtick,takeoff: You oughta see my Brando act
Related Terms

a class act, clean up one's act, do the dutch, go into one's act, sister act


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Related Abbreviations for acts

ACTS

asbestos contractor tracking system

ACT

  1. a trademark for a standardized college entrance examination; originally American College Test
  2. American Conservatory Theater
  3. Waco Regional Airport
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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acts in the Bible

the title now given to the fifth and last of the historical books of the New Testament. The author styles it a "treatise" (1:1). It was early called "The Acts," "The Gospel of the Holy Ghost," and "The Gospel of the Resurrection." It contains properly no account of any of the apostles except Peter and Paul. John is noticed only three times; and all that is recorded of James, the son of Zebedee, is his execution by Herod. It is properly therefore not the history of the "Acts of the Apostles," a title which was given to the book at a later date, but of "Acts of Apostles," or more correctly, of "Some Acts of Certain Apostles." As regards its authorship, it was certainly the work of Luke, the "beloved physician" (comp. Luke 1:1-4; Acts 1:1). This is the uniform tradition of antiquity, although the writer nowhere makes mention of himself by name. The style and idiom of the Gospel of Luke and of the Acts, and the usage of words and phrases common to both, strengthen this opinion. The writer first appears in the narrative in 16:11, and then disappears till Paul's return to Philippi two years afterwards, when he and Paul left that place together (20:6), and the two seem henceforth to have been constant companions to the end. He was certainly with Paul at Rome (28; Col. 4:14). Thus he wrote a great portion of that history from personal observation. For what lay beyond his own experience he had the instruction of Paul. If, as is very probable, 2 Tim. was written during Paul's second imprisonment at Rome, Luke was with him then as his faithful companion to the last (2 Tim. 4:11). Of his subsequent history we have no certain information. The design of Luke's Gospel was to give an exhibition of the character and work of Christ as seen in his history till he was taken up from his disciples into heaven; and of the Acts, as its sequel, to give an illustration of the power and working of the gospel when preached among all nations, "beginning at Jerusalem." The opening sentences of the Acts are just an expansion and an explanation of the closing words of the Gospel. In this book we have just a continuation of the history of the church after Christ's ascension. Luke here carries on the history in the same spirit in which he had commenced it. It is only a book of beginnings, a history of the founding of churches, the initial steps in the formation of the Christian society in the different places visited by the apostles. It records a cycle of "representative events." All through the narrative we see the ever-present, all-controlling power of the ever-living Saviour. He worketh all and in all in spreading abroad his truth among men by his Spirit and through the instrumentality of his apostles. The time of the writing of this history may be gathered from the fact that the narrative extends down to the close of the second year of Paul's first imprisonment at Rome. It could not therefore have been written earlier than A.D. 61 or 62, nor later than about the end of A.D. 63. Paul was probably put to death during his second imprisonment, about A.D. 64, or, as some think, 66. The place where the book was written was probably Rome, to which Luke accompanied Paul. The key to the contents of the book is in 1:8, "Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." After referring to what had been recorded in a "former treatise" of the sayings and doings of Jesus Christ before his ascension, the author proceeds to give an account of the circumstances connected with that event, and then records the leading facts with reference to the spread and triumphs of Christianity over the world during a period of about thirty years. The record begins with Pentecost (A.D. 33) and ends with Paul's first imprisonment (A.D. 63 or 64). The whole contents of the book may be divided into these three parts: (1.) Chaps. 1-12, describing the first twelve years of the Christian church. This section has been entitled "From Jerusalem to Antioch." It contains the history of the planting and extension of the church among the Jews by the ministry of Peter. (2.) Chaps. 13-21, Paul's missionary journeys, giving the history of the extension and planting of the church among the Gentiles. (3.) Chaps. 21-28, Paul at Rome, and the events which led to this. Chaps. 13-28 have been entitled "From Antioch to Rome." In this book it is worthy of note that no mention is made of the writing by Paul of any of his epistles. This may be accounted for by the fact that the writer confined himself to a history of the planting of the church, and not to that of its training or edification. The relation, however, between this history and the epistles of Paul is of such a kind, i.e., brings to light so many undesigned coincidences, as to prove the genuineness and authenticity of both, as is so ably shown by Paley in his _Horae Paulinae_. "No ancient work affords so many tests of veracity; for no other has such numerous points of contact in all directions with contemporary history, politics, and topography, whether Jewish, or Greek, or Roman." Lightfoot. (See PAUL.)

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with acts
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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