Main definitions of act in English

: act1ACT2

act1

verb

[no object]
  • 1Take action; do something.

    ‘they urged Washington to act’
    with infinitive ‘governments must act to reduce pollution’
    • ‘I have never come across a business so brilliant, nor one so destined for bankruptcy by 2002, so you must act now.’
    • ‘To be expedient, we must act within the bounds of international law consistent with consensus among the emerging allied coalition.’
    • ‘In these circumstances, players may also use an assistant who cannot view the playing court and must act only on the player's instructions.’
    • ‘This body must act now to urge our fellow legislators in the United States Senate to alleviate this crisis.’
    • ‘However, in the long run, we believe that politicians must act in the interest of all of those who participate in elections.’
    • ‘In the wake of Silent Spring all industrialised societies acted to reduce pollution.’
    • ‘That is what we need to insist upon and that is what we must act upon.’
    • ‘Based upon no common agreement on publicly available information, the Democrats say we must act now.’
    • ‘Investors must act quickly if they want to roll their capital into another tax-free plan, writes Jessica Bown’
    • ‘We must act before we are punished for moving too slowly.’
    • ‘But they must act tomorrow if they are to convene the Northern Ireland Assembly to elect a new first minister.’
    • ‘The rock of Mother Jones' faith was her conviction that working Americans acting together must free themselves from poverty and powerlessness.’
    • ‘Shipley's Labour MP said the Council must act quickly.’
    • ‘We in turn must act to save the fish from the fishermen and remind them that that once the fish are gone, they won't even be able to chuck dead fish back into the sea.’
    • ‘The city council needs to act sensitively, but it must act to facilitate public use of our green spaces.’
    • ‘The world has to act - and it must not wait another 10 years to do it.’
    • ‘We must act, not only in defence of our sisters and brothers in other countries, but for our own children and our own future.’
    • ‘Labour must act now or more unions will sever their link.’
    • ‘The Greens leader says the world can save lives if it acts quickly and Australia must be part of that.’
    • ‘The collective consciousness wants a just world and now realizes individuals must now act to secure one.’
    take action, take steps, take measures, take the initiative, move, make a move, react, do something, proceed, go ahead
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1act on Take action according to or in the light of.
      ‘I shall certainly act on his suggestion’
      • ‘Bravo to the captain of the ship for acting on his good conscience when his distress signals fell on deaf ears.’
      • ‘We really do welcome your suggestions and try to act on them when possible.’
      • ‘As a constituent, you deserve to know how your Senator acts on your request.’
      • ‘In December, the Haitian police, acting on their own information, sought to arrest him at his home.’
      • ‘This was because his role in that came to light too late for the Hutton inquiry to act on it.’
      • ‘That he was the one who thought of addressing and acting on the issue has lifted my estimation of Mr Rudd very much.’
      • ‘Last but not least, the new Mayor said that he would also be acting on a suggestion by Cllr. Browning.’
      • ‘Salesmen and brokers who purport to be acting on your advice are frequently more interested in their commissions.’
      • ‘The world's most powerful man acts on the voices he hears in his head.’
      • ‘The detectives were acting on a tip-off from a thief who had broken into Mr Morrison's house only days earlier.’
      • ‘The modest lifesaver is pleased with his award, but insists he was simply acting on instinct and determination.’
      • ‘In other words, the tribunal was acting on newer, more negative country information.’
      • ‘Seventeen years later a British government chose to act on that suggestion and dispatch the fleet.’
      • ‘Meanwhile the Prime Minister, no orator but a politician with an actor's empathy for public mood, acts on his instincts.’
      • ‘This value is the amount of time the browser waits before it acts on information it receives.’
      • ‘The MP for North Lanark acted on it and the Army had to conform immediately.’
      • ‘No doubt he is moved by the ordeal his own fellow countrymen are going through, but he never acts on emotion.’
      • ‘The Crown Prosecution Service acts on society's behalf - in other words, our behalf.’
      • ‘The way it works, is you just submit a request and he acts on it on his own.’
      • ‘I have found that she not only takes time to ask for your opinions, but she actually acts on them.’
      comply with, act in accordance with, follow, go along with
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2act for Take action in order to bring about.
      ‘one's ability to act for community change’
      • ‘As to his comment that ‘the party acts for the best interests of the working man’ I would respond ‘not in a long time’.’
      • ‘His espousal of State action, representing the best collective nature of the whole community, was to act for the benefit of all.’
      • ‘If you can't have a democratically accountable administration that acts for the welfare of the citizens, then an international event for which the country has to clean up its act is the next best thing.’
      • ‘I have more faith in the ability of the general public to act for the greater good in the face of a crisis.’
      • ‘Napoleon recognized his abilities, promoting him to positions where he could act for the benefit of French science and education.’
      • ‘‘He was not acting for personal gain or to cover dishonesty,’ he said.’
      take action, take steps, take measures, take the initiative, move, make a move, react, do something, proceed, go ahead
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3act for/on behalf of Represent (someone) on a contractual, legal, or paid basis.
      ‘he chose a solicitor to act for him’
      • ‘I understand you act for the airline, and there was a dispute there some time ago about drug and alcohol testing.’
      • ‘The purchaser was a solicitor acting on behalf of a client.’
      • ‘Solicitors acting on behalf of a number of officers have written to cinemas and halls pointing out that they may be liable to action should the film be found to be defamatory.’
      • ‘At the end of August solicitors acting on behalf of Mr King launched a claim for damages at London's High Court.’
      • ‘After the hearing, Holt, who acts for the twins, said: ‘The award will make a very significant difference to the twins' quality of life.’’
      • ‘Our back pages are dominated by celebrity drivel spun by agents acting for a handful of English superstars.’
      • ‘For the last two years its leader, who allegedly murdered an RUC officer, has claimed to act for the community.’
      • ‘The barrister acting for the community council is now objecting to the inspector's decision.’
      • ‘It is about time the party stopped its pretence of acting on behalf of all the people when the only people it represents are the well off, big business and the privileged.’
      • ‘He also acted for the Ukraine Communist Party and the Ukraine Socialist Party.’
      • ‘A Dublin-based firm of solicitors are acting on behalf of the parents of over 100 children with autism.’
      • ‘Solicitors acting on behalf of a double murder suspect are to take an appeal against his extradition to the Dutch High Court in The Hague.’
      • ‘They were acting for a local property developer with links to the gypsy community and last month the field became a caravan site.’
      • ‘They will now have to wait to hear whether solicitors acting on behalf of the accused man ask for a second post-mortem examination.’
      • ‘According to the new regulations, a representative who acts on behalf of visa-seekers must be authorised and could be an immigration consultant with good standing in the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants.’
      • ‘The firearms officer is being represented by the Scottish Police Federation, which acts on behalf of rank-and-file police.’
      • ‘As such, unions were represented in local and national government and sought to act for the community.’
      • ‘The first stages of a High Court hearing will be heard later this month involving a Dublin law firm acting on behalf of up to 12 individual clients.’
      • ‘We act on behalf of very high-profile clients who would, I consider, find a lap-dancing club deeply objectionable and offensive.’
      • ‘Following this communication, Stone, who had acted for the purchaser in the past, made it known to Smith that he must retain his own lawyer in the matter.’
      represent, act on behalf of, speak on behalf of
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4act from/out of Be motivated by.
      ‘you acted from greed’
      • ‘That said at the bottom of everything, unless the truth is told, people, no matter how well motivated, have no motivation to act from.’
      • ‘There's a difference between thinking someone's strategies are wrong, and thinking them a knave who acts from ignorance at best, and more likely acts from malice.’
      • ‘Whether you agree or disagree with his policies, you cannot doubt that he acts from deep convictions, and that he is prepared to take courageous decisions that fly in the face of public opinion.’
      • ‘In part, he speaks and acts from a position of privilege - he has social and financial influence, he can set agendas.’
  • 2with adverbial Behave in the way specified.

    ‘they challenged a man who was seen acting suspiciously’
    ‘he acts as if he owned the place’
    ‘try to act like civilized adults’
    • ‘I was behaving in my normal chatty self and acting as if I knew them for a hundred years as usual.’
    • ‘Their main function is to act like an annoying salesperson who wouldn't take no for an answer.’
    • ‘In order to acclimate him to the wild, Dolittle must teach him the ways of nature and how to act like a real bear.’
    • ‘Is it really that difficult to act like an adult and go about the business of the country in an orderly, civilized manner?’
    • ‘The other thing is people are acting as if corruption in the Olympics is something new.’
    • ‘It seems to me like women have to grin and bear a lot, and still feel pressure to act like saintly selfless birth goddesses.’
    • ‘Companies must act responsibly and tell the truth to avoid their shareholders being added to the list of victims in this grim tale.’
    • ‘You must begin thinking and acting like you're a lawyer.’
    • ‘It wasn't unusual for Krystal to act like a complete crazy person, but today she was acting extra crazy and I knew something was up.’
    • ‘Why are some small/medium-sized companies in such a hurry to act like big stupid companies?’
    • ‘If we want a Nanny-free State, we must stop acting like children.’
    • ‘He kept acting as if the crowd adored him when in fact we found him to be an annoying prat.’
    • ‘I act like a teenager and he acts like a staid, pipe-and-slippers pensioner.’
    • ‘Maybe they just act like rock stars because it's a lot easier than acting like ordinary people.’
    • ‘Both of these guys spend half of the film acting as if they're posing for a magazine cover.’
    • ‘In any case, the administration must acknowledge that he acted like a hero, who did his best for his city.’
    • ‘Politicians have to be seen to be acting responsibly and must expect to be censured when they are not.’
    • ‘What is even more outrageous is that Gannon still acts as though he did nothing wrong.’
    • ‘What made it so original was that is she acted as if everything she said made perfect sense.’
    • ‘We're going to act like normal, mature adults and choose normal children's names.’
    behave, function, react, perform
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  • 3act asFulfil the function or serve the purpose of.

    ‘they need volunteers to act as foster-parents’
    ‘a day-care centre which will act as a meeting place’
    • ‘The data centre also acts as a backup to the US serving infrastructure if required.’
    • ‘No. Do I think that the threat of capital punishment acts as a deterrent to serious crime?’
    • ‘Spraying a strong disinfectant inside refuse bags also acts as a deterrent to foxes.’
    • ‘She has quite literally found herself acting as a foster mother to a very young hare.’
    • ‘The forum is also looking for volunteers to act as rangers along the trail.’
    • ‘In effect, Labour was serving in government and acting as the formal Opposition at one and the same time.’
    • ‘He is now on the hunt for volunteers to act as business mentors to small Cumbrian enterprises.’
    • ‘We have an opportunity to create a town centre that could act as a meeting place or some point of civic focus.’
    • ‘The plan proposed Mr Robertson as manager and relied on volunteers acting as core staff.’
    • ‘Nor is their any evidence at all that the threat of execution acts as a deterrent.’
    • ‘Jody acts as a foster mum and he had to hand feed the four every three hours for the first four days.’
    • ‘He said his organisation acts as a volunteer brokerage service that businesses can use.’
    • ‘In so doing, it was not acting as a constitutional tribunal reviewing the acts of the Council against the Charter.’
    • ‘Bethany also acts as her parents' ears as both are deaf, since contracting measles in childhood.’
    • ‘Moreover there is no evidence that public humiliation acts as a deterrent.’
    • ‘Both supplementary bodies are composed of experts acting as governmental representatives.’
    • ‘Police believe their presence also acts as a deterrent against other crimes.’
    • ‘Nobles could act as foster parents to the sons of kings and other nobles' sons.’
    • ‘In sunny spring, the location serves as Paris and in misty autumn it acts as London.’
    • ‘The High Court ruling is timely and would have served the purpose if it acts as a deterrent.’
    operate, work, take effect, function, serve, be efficacious
    View synonyms
  • 4Take effect; have a particular effect.

    ‘bacteria act on proteins and sugar’
    • ‘Wine drunk on its own tastes different when taken with food, because the wine acts on food in a similar way to spices.’
    • ‘The scientists further found that the crumpled ball displayed a phenomenon known as hysteresis, in which the effect of forces acting upon an object lags behind its cause.’
    • ‘Thus, the competition between monovalent and divalent cations acts only on the DNA sites and does not act on the mica sites.’
    • ‘It is almost always given by injecting a drug, which acts so rapidly that you are barely aware that anything is happening before waking up in the recovery ward, or back in bed.’
    • ‘A chemical is released by one cell and acts on another to complete the circuit.’
    • ‘Recent studies have suggested that a number of drugs may act specifically to increase healing rates.’
    • ‘It was a poison that acted instantly and would appear as alcohol in the autopsy.’
    • ‘Cloud and water vapour may tend to damp down the effects of increased greenhouse gases, or they may act to magnify such effects.’
    • ‘Nitrosureas - a group of drugs that act similarly to that of alkylating agents.’
    • ‘A wide variety of drugs, acting solely on brain structures, influence our minds.’
    • ‘Drug use was pandemic at these shows because drugs act to trigger the transformation into the private self.’
    • ‘Histamine H 2 receptor antagonists act by blocking the effect of histamine on parietal cells.’
    • ‘This remedy is given in a highly diluted form and acts on the body to mobilise the immune system.’
    • ‘Cement has been partially effective, as it acts to seal the bone and prevent osteolysis.’
    • ‘Vulgarone B has proved just as effective - and faster acting - than the current treatment against golden apple snails.’
    affect, have an effect on, influence, exert influence on, work on, have an impact on, impact on, alter, change, modify, transform, condition, control
    View synonyms
  • 5Perform a role in a play, film, or television.

    ‘she acted in her first professional role at the age of six’
    with object ‘he acted the role of the king’
    • ‘He is considered to be more of an ‘artist’ than most Tamil actors because he acts in non-stereotypical roles.’
    • ‘In the next scene, performers are acting again, this time in the role of rural laborers.’
    • ‘She began to act in male roles as a child and this continued even later.’
    • ‘He spent a term at RADA in 1940 before acting with repertory companies in Liverpool and Bideford, Devon.’
    • ‘If you were to act in a Raj Kapoor film which one would it be?’
    • ‘He is still afraid of accepting film roles, despite having acted in more than 300 films over the past 29 years.’
    • ‘He acted with the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2002, in Island Princess, The Malcontent, Edward III and The Roman Actor.’
    • ‘At a time when most of her contemporaries were sitting exams, she was acting in meaty TV roles.’
    • ‘At three he was Jesus in a Nativity play; at 10 he had a theatre role, four years later he was on television and at 16 he acted in a short film.’
    • ‘Kathryn, who has also been billed as Kathy Morris, as acted in a wide ranges of films and television roles.’
    • ‘Boorman, son of the director John Boorman, had acted in 24 films since a childhood role in Deliverance in 1972.’
    • ‘The movie is being made, with Angelina Jolie acting in the lead role.’
    • ‘When I'm actually presenting, I'm on stage in a role, I'm acting almost.’
    • ‘Pryor gives the best performance of his career and proves that he can truly act in a dramatic role as well.’
    • ‘Filmmakers were quick to spot his talent as he started acting in several small roles.’
    • ‘He has also acted in a prominent role in a Telugu film.’
    • ‘It's also a film that reveals a new beauty which was buried inside all the comedy roles he had acted in.’
    • ‘He has acted in over 30 films and 60 television serials.’
    • ‘She was very strong in the leading role, singing and acting well, while Lee was very creditable as the prince.’
    • ‘Is it because, except for the 4 main actors, none of the rest can act to save their roles?’
    perform, play, play a part, take part, be an actor, be an actress, be one of the cast, appear
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    1. 5.1with complement Behave so as to appear to be; pretend to be.
      ‘I acted dumb at first’
      • ‘As long as they don't have to act manly and pretend not to be afraid of insects.’
      • ‘So the suspicion remains that his main desire is merely to appear to be acting tough - whether or not what he suggests will make any difference.’
      • ‘At the moment, they were acting so reserved… pretending a ghost of the relationship they usually had.’
      • ‘Pearl tried to appear nonchalant by acting smug, but the glistening smile in her eyes betrayed her true feelings.’
      • ‘I was still laughing, and she merely huffed and pretended to act mad by turning her head away from me.’
      • ‘Caelyn asked, pretending to act coy as she kept one hand around his neck and used to the other to trace his collarbone lightly.’
      • ‘Haley sniped examining her fingernails pretending to act aloof about the whole matter.’
      • ‘Casey thought that she appeared and acted very calm and collected.’
      • ‘So Charlotte, who was contemptuous of him knowing the right answer but acting dumb to keep in with his mates, is his only hope.’
      • ‘He acted shocked then pretended to weep.’
      • ‘Melody had surprised herself with how calm she had acted and appeared even though inside a swarm of butterflies flitted nervously and a shiver ran down her spine.’
      • ‘May pretended that she was acting sorry about dumping him.’
      • ‘She'd planned to act dumb and pretend she'd never known he was there.’
      pretend, play-act, sham, fake, feign, put it on, bluff, pose, posture, masquerade, dissemble, dissimulate
      View synonyms
    2. 5.2act something outwith object Perform a narrative as if it were a play.
      ‘encouraging pupils to act out the stories’
      • ‘Originally, Ed comes from a radio background and he is used to working on-the-fly We would literally act the story out and over the course of several months we came up with the screenplay.’
      • ‘Most of my memories of childhood are of me alone in my room, standing in front of my mirror and creating stories and acting them out by myself.’
      • ‘He would write scripts for us during the week and we would act them out.’
      • ‘My best-friend, Lori, who had an older brother and knew everything, confirmed this story, and once, to my extreme titillation, even acted it out for me.’
      • ‘Admin officer Williams said: ‘Jane was narrating a story and she got the children to act it out in music.’’
      • ‘We played outside, made up stories, acted them out, etc.’
      • ‘They aren't just reading them but acting them out.’
      • ‘By acting things out, it really brings it alive and afterwards they have to write a report of the battle as if they were a reporter.’
      • ‘The students are supposed to present this poem by acting it out, reading it aloud, or creating a painting or other work of art; these presentations will be videotaped.’
      • ‘He proceeds to dazzle them with a story, acting it out with the help of his dog.’
      • ‘Speaking of the story, there's something wrong with the way the story is acted out.’
      • ‘She wrote a story about Nathan… and took photos of her Nathan doll acting it out!’
      • ‘I was ritually acting the book out in some way, which is funny to think about.’
      • ‘This is the movie version of karaoke; basically, you choose a scene, go up on stage and act it out while the film runs on a screen behind you.’
      • ‘The premise: during the tail end of a sleep-over, a half-dozen of his child-centered stories are acted out by a quartet of overly wound-up kids stubbornly avoiding sleep.’
      • ‘One couple actually stood in the center of the two lines during the whole baseball announcer verse and acted the whole thing out.’
      • ‘The use of a Tolkein-esque storyline to illustrate the aspects of growing up and maturing is perfect, and the way in which the story is acted out and accented is priceless.’
      • ‘My friend and I used to have fun reading out my stories and acting them out… it had us both on the floor in stitches it was that funny!’
      • ‘I have always been fascinated by how people fictionalise their lives, how they tell stories and act them out.’
      • ‘We got hold of the lyrics, and acted it out in the school playground, protecting our territory from the younger kids.’
      act out, perform, play, appear in, stage, mount, put on, present, do
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    3. 5.3act something outPsychoanalysis with object Express repressed emotion or impulses in overt behaviour as a defensive substitute for conscious recall, typical of some behavioural disorders.
      • ‘If we can stay with it, neither acting it out nor repressing it, it wakes us up.’
      • ‘According to Freud, ‘we may say that the patient does not remember anything of what he has forgotten and repressed, but acts it out.’’
      • ‘‘Social workers need training so that ingrained prejudices are not acted out,’ Ms Fay said.’
      • ‘It is impossible to guess the prevalence of this condition, he says, because most people with such fantasies would never act them out.’
      • ‘Like so many traumatized children, they were acting it out again and again, Elliott explains, until they could see it in a way that made sense to them.’

noun

  • 1A thing done; a deed.

    ‘a criminal act’
    ‘the act of writing down one's thoughts’
    ‘an act of heroism’
    • ‘It was a moderately brave act of which I remain immoderately proud, as a just and deeply felt tribute to a truly great player.’
    • ‘Immediately, and without intent, start thinking about the act of staring at yourself in the mirror.’
    • ‘However, the weekend becomes meaningful only by the act of being remembered.’
    • ‘Transgression of this boundary was the act of a criminal and a heroic nature.’
    • ‘He had started his quest with no mastery of the act of observing a scene and translating it onto paper.’
    • ‘The bombings were the act of criminal extremists.’
    • ‘That is why the act of dissent and of intelligently questioning a war is one of the most patriotic things that a civilian can do.’
    • ‘He is innocent and this is not the act of a football hooligan.’
    • ‘The act of writing is a personal affair and a spiritual labor.’
    • ‘Thinking becomes a chore - a troubling effort - even the act of breathing takes thought and we may never sleep.’
    • ‘Witnesses to the act of criminal genius called police who, so far, have only charged the man with theft.’
    • ‘The act of taking one's child to a hospital for any procedure is scary.’
    • ‘My beautiful children who I'd had were just gone out of my life in that one single moment, that one simple, selfish act.’
    • ‘But then the act of listening to music is selfish, not communal.’
    • ‘Tonight the act of turning back our clocks signals, in a more or less official way, the onset of fall.’
    • ‘The act of vandalism, which caused damaged estimated at £30, occurred in the early hours of Christmas Eve.’
    • ‘I am very concerned about what the president has put forth, although again, we're respectful of his need to snuff out terrorism, prevent any acts from happening again.’
    • ‘This study agrees with the view of Franklin L. Ford, whose book Political Murder covers terrorist acts from ancient times down to the 1980s.’
    • ‘Like everything, the act of recollection moves with the times.’
    • ‘The act of eating is important but it is always accompanied by speech.’
    deed, action, gesture, feat, exploit, move, performance, undertaking, manoeuvre, stunt, operation, venture, effort, enterprise, achievement, accomplishment
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A New Testament book immediately following the Gospels and relating the history of the early Church.
  • 2in singular A pretence.

    ‘she was putting on an act and laughing a lot’
    • ‘Hunter replied, but I couldn't tell if he was sincere or just putting on an act.’
    • ‘Would she think I was just putting on an act, or would this be seen as coming on too strong?’
    • ‘It would be like putting on an act to get others to advance toward God, when I'm still getting a toe on the starting line.’
    • ‘Even I felt that she really did not know how to speak and she was putting on an act.’
    • ‘But then the man turns out to be a laid-off engineer who's putting on an act to gain sympathy.’
    • ‘This is because we know the futility of putting on an act: the truth has a habit of coming out.’
    • ‘Up at the talks Scott - such a nice man - put on a brilliant act of pretending that there were still lots of disagreements.’
    • ‘They're not putting on an act or trying to be someone they're not.’
    • ‘All these people their fake, their smiles and laughs were all pretend, just an act to cover up reality.’
    • ‘I couldn't help but wonder if he was always putting on an act for people, if the charm he always used was an act.’
    • ‘Brigid let out a slight snort, for she knew James was putting on an act just to attract her.’
    • ‘Of course it would be arbitrary of me to accuse the shop owner of putting on an act or simply making a show.’
    • ‘Kazza stared at me blankly in reply, knowing I was putting on an act.’
    • ‘Those interjections were very reasonable, and the Minister was simply putting on an act to try to get some sympathy.’
    • ‘They had no qualms about putting on an act, playing on ethnic stereotypes people enjoyed to get audiences.’
    • ‘But no matter how mature her friend seemed, she could not help wondering if he was just putting on an act in order to stop her from leaving.’
    • ‘But how did they know he was sincere about changing his behaviour, and wasn't just putting on an act to impress magistrates?’
    • ‘It is hoped, for the sake of millions of poor Filipinos, that he is not just putting on an act, good movie actor that he was.’
    • ‘Perhaps you were not really trying to make contact with me, but putting on an act that you were attempting to do so.’
    • ‘There was no pretence there, no act, and there was something about her that felt like a real breath of fresh air.’
    pretence, false display, show, front, facade, masquerade, charade, guise, posture, pose, affectation, appearance
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    1. 2.1with adjective or noun modifier A particular type of behaviour or routine.
      ‘he did his Sir Galahad act’
      • ‘The kitchen where Willie did his Jamie Oliver act makes the one he'll have to share at college look in need of a visit from environmental health.’
      • ‘I've brought home a stack of proofs to read this weekend, so started on them on the train home, but did my worryingly regular falling asleep act not long outside London.’
      • ‘In the end, I decided to join in with everyone else and dance - it's hard to keep up the sulky act ALL night.’
      • ‘His successful move from Northern Ireland politics to representing Munster and Fine Gael in the European Parliament was quite simply a Houdini act.’
      comedy sketch, piece, turn, item, routine, number
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  • 3A written law passed by Parliament, Congress, etc.

    ‘the 1989 Children Act’
    • ‘An Act of Parliament dissolved monasteries with annual revenues of under £200.’
    • ‘For these powers it seems an Act of Parliament will be needed.’
    • ‘The team found that the centre did not comply with the acts on childcare and treatment of substance abusers.’
    • ‘First established in 1789 by an Act of Congress, the United States Department of the Treasury is responsible for federal finances.’
    • ‘Most of the problems that plague our educational system will not be solved by further court decisions or legislative acts: they involve a more basic self examination.’
    • ‘Some of these rights and liberties are the results of custom and convention, whereas others are contained in the written Acts of Parliament.’
    • ‘The document is being distributed to members of Congress in preparation for the 2004 reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, it would appear that canals did indeed require an Act of Parliament.’
    • ‘It had passed an Act of Parliament to end the proceedings and preclude any appeal.’
    • ‘However, without the authority of an Act of Parliament, a treaty may not alter the law of the United Kingdom.’
    • ‘Violations of the Stream Litter Act are heard in criminal court, and fines are levied by a judge.’
    • ‘To declare war requires an act of congress, but to launch a nuclear holocaust requires 20 minutes' deliberation by the president and his advisors.’
    law, decree, statute, bill, act of parliament, edict, fiat, dictum, dictate, enactment, resolution, ruling, rule, judgement, canon, ordinance, proclamation, command, commandment, mandate, measure, stipulation, direction, requirement
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    1. 3.1 A document attesting a legal transaction.
      • ‘In my judgment, the law does not require that in every situation every party to the act or document should be a party to the sham.’
      • ‘A notary draws up the act which is the legal evidence of the pope's death.’
      • ‘Third, the fact that the act or document is uncommercial, or even artificial, does not mean that it is a sham.’
      • ‘Because these acts are legal documents, the inconsistency between these acts and case law provides an argument in support of psychologists' qualifications to diagnose.’
      account, accounts, document, documents, documentation, data, file, files, dossier, dossiers, information, evidence, report, reports
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    2. 3.2actsdated The recorded decisions or proceedings of a committee or an academic body.
      • ‘For the Acts and Proceedings of the Convocations, readers are referred to The Chronicle of the Convocation of Canterbury.’
  • 4A main division of a play, ballet, or opera.

    ‘the first act’
    • ‘Germans never applaud between the movements of a sonata, or before the end of an act at the opera.’
    • ‘As a student at the School of American Ballet, she appeared for several years in the second act of the New York City Ballet's production of George Balanchine's Nutcracker.’
    • ‘The play's careful and logical division into five acts (which would have been marked by Intervals in indoor performance) would support this view.’
    • ‘A Time for Tea is nevertheless, organised into two main acts.’
    • ‘Nerves were to the fore on opening night as the cast stuttered with their lines and generally put on a wooden performance in the first act.’
    • ‘Things pick up somewhat in the second act, which is performed in this production without a break for intermission.’
    • ‘Shakespeare's tragedy Romeo and Juliet employs comedy in its first act to endear us to its characters and set up its plot.’
    • ‘Ballet in two acts with choreography by Ivanov, libretto by Petipa, music by Tchaikovsky, and designs by M. I. Botcharov, K. Ivanov, and I. Vsevolojsky.’
    • ‘Tosca is an opera in three acts set in Rome about 1800 at a time of revolution.’
    • ‘With a top ticket price of $110, you had better give me more than a one-act ballet stretched into two acts.’
    • ‘Giselle a ballet in two acts begins at 7.30 pm on Friday, April 1, at The Sands Centre, Carlisle.’
    • ‘Ursula Fri-Bernhard and Jan Kyhle anchor this production with exciting performances in the first act.’
    • ‘The opera's three acts were presented individually on sequential days in two complete performances over consecutive weekends.’
    division, section, subsection, portion, part, segment, component, bit
    View synonyms
    1. 4.1 A set performance.
      ‘her one-woman poetry act’
      • ‘Over our meal we were entertained by a cabaret act performed by the bird keepers and some of the inhabitants.’
      • ‘Eventually, they end up in costume, performing song and dance acts and at last tap dance into the box with the beetle-man.’
      • ‘Lawrence, like Richard Pryor before him, uses his stand-up act as a forum to tell his side of the story.’
      • ‘Musical treat - A mini concert was held in the school hall recently featuring a variety of acts from several of our students.’
      • ‘Others expect that you're going to keep performing those circus acts.’
      • ‘The comic had risen through the standup ranks, working hard at developing an act after his initial performances drew derision.’
      • ‘After I'd done my comedy act during the late seventies, I started writing a screenplay for a movie.’
      • ‘Still, I didn't really want to be there listening to the DJs playing records, I wanted to see the main act.’
      • ‘After all, politicians don't usually perform comedy acts where they smash produce with sledgehammers.’
      • ‘The performances included 5 separate acts by Madame Jim, with full costume changes, which earned mountains of applause.’
      performance, turn, routine, number, item, piece, sketch, skit, playlet, dance, song
      View synonyms
    2. 4.2 A performing group.
      ‘an act called the Apple Blossom Sisters’
      • ‘More than 50 acts from 32 different nations are gathering for the hot-hot-hottest of Montreal's many summer festivals.’
      • ‘When we attend jazz, we go mostly to view the main acts - and if these don't show up, we should be refunded.’
      • ‘While the acts from Pink Floyd to Razorlight go through their numbers in Hyde Park, another line-up of superstars will be performing on the international stage nearby.’
      • ‘I've been trying to make a list of all the bands and musical acts that I've seen live, good and bad, big and small.’
      • ‘Both acts performed on the Sunday of the event, Razorlight entertaining on the main stage whilst Babyshambles took to the NME / Radio 1 Stage.’
      • ‘In November, the Afro-Cuban All Stars, one of Cuba's most prominent musical acts, planned to perform in Berkeley as part of its U.S. tour.’
      • ‘The venue's packed programme of shows and concerts was rearranged, with some acts performing at local nightclubs, the Alhambra Theatre and the Victoria Theatre, Halifax.’
      • ‘In the last year, countless acts from Moby to Joe Cocker via Bob Dylan have played to half-empty halls in the city.’
      • ‘A key element of the project is a giant 10,000-seat arena capable of staging concerts by top-quality acts such as Robbie Williams and the Rolling Stones.’
      • ‘The four winning acts announced today will perform live on Song For Europe.’
      • ‘There will be over thirty DJs and live dance acts performing on the day.’
      • ‘The excellent annual Foxford Christmas Concert featured a variety of local acts who performed to the highest standards.’
      • ‘The performance kept with the theme of these awards over the years: mix Latin acts with performances with crossover appeal.’
      • ‘The support band The Shins were very good, and the main act, Belle and Sebastian were just brilliant.’
      • ‘Hugely respected acts from both Ireland and Wales will fill every venue, every night - and Sunday afternoon too - bringing a real festival flavour to this unmissable weekend of fun.’
      • ‘The outdoor concert was cancelled and the various acts performed in local pubs instead.’
      • ‘Their flamboyant style contrasted with established mournful acts on the shortlist, such as Radiohead and Coldplay.’
      • ‘Bringing pop acts to perform with an orchestra is a good idea, but too often the symphony takes a back seat to the star.’
      • ‘Havana Che, an eight piece Latin band, are among the headliners for the music festival, which will once again showcase the best of local talent as well as acts from all over Ireland and the UK.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, a popular feature of the annual festival, the Carlsberg Rhythm Route, is back and will once again see some top acts perform for free in Waterford pubs and nightspots.’
      • ‘Even before the main acts came on, adoring fans made a beeline for the stage to make sure they got as close as they could to the stars.’
      • ‘Snow Patrol, Travis, McFly, Ronan Keating and Dannii Minogue are just some of the chart-topping acts whose performances at the live concerts will be broadcast on the night.’
      • ‘Fifty acts from the three Prairie Provinces will be selected by a jury of industry professionals to perform in venues such as the Rev Cabaret, the Sidetrack, New City Likwid Lounge and Suburbs.’

Phrases

  • act of God

    • An instance of uncontrollable natural forces in operation.

      ‘the flooding was surely an act of God’
      • ‘Some disasters are neither acts of God nor human errors; many environmental refugees are displaced by deliberate development projects.’
      • ‘At a memorial service on Wednesday evening, school officials and church representatives said the tragedy was an incomprehensible act of God.’
      • ‘The prevailing belief in 1930 was that an economic recession was like an earthquake or flood - an act of God that had to be endured.’
      • ‘All reasonable people understand that acts of God, accidents, or incidents will happen that will affect the quality of drinking water.’
      • ‘Escalator failures, too, are system failures, not acts of God.’
      • ‘Insurance experts say very few policies cover acts of God or disasters of this type.’
      • ‘Jack shall not be liable for interruptions caused by strikes, riots, floods, acts of God, loss of communication, or by any event beyond his control.’
      • ‘Many people seem to believe his death was an act of God, who came to save them from their misery.’
      • ‘Accidents are no longer acts of God but someone's fault and every reasonable step must be taken to avoid them.’
      • ‘Natural calamities are always a tragedy and an act of God.’
      • ‘It is inaccurate to call the tsunami an act of God, because God did not intervene to provoke the disaster.’
      • ‘Just for starters, we'd probably see way more statistics calculating the economic destructiveness of nature's most underestimated act of God: winter.’
      • ‘We went to the council but they said the tree was not diseased, they were not liable and what happened was an act of God.’
      • ‘With acts of God, the events are beyond human control.’
      • ‘Some nations are apt to believe that war is an inevitable evil, like acts of God, occurrences in accordance with laws of Nature, something utterly impersonal.’
      • ‘This was no accident, an act of God, or a freak occurrence.’
      • ‘The priest, though distressed by the death, believes that the death is the act of God and cannot be questioned and ‘perhaps we should love what we can't understand.’’
      • ‘Storms and other natural disasters are just those: natural disasters and not acts of God.’
      • ‘Both sides should just batten down the hatches, prepare for a very long 2004 and remember that miracles, or even acts of God, do happen.’
      • ‘Because the event is an act of God, the responsibility for maintenance and repair to the road and bridge falls to the legal road tenure holder and owner - the Ministry of Forests - but the pressure to fix things is on.’
      disaster, catastrophe, calamity, tragedy, act of god, devastation, crisis, holocaust, ruin, ruination, upheaval, convulsion, blow, shock, reverse, trouble, trial, tribulation
      View synonyms
  • act of grace

    • A privilege or concession that cannot be claimed as a right.

      ‘the bonus remains a payment made as an act of grace’
      • ‘According to this logic, the receipt of welfare benefits due to unemployment is not regarded as a social right, but as in the Middle Ages is looked upon as an act of grace which actually runs counter to the interests of the state.’
      • ‘A presidential pardon is an act of grace or mercy, proceeding from the power entrusted with the execution of laws, which exempts the individual, on whom it is bestowed, from punishment the courts inflict for a crime he or she committed.’
      • ‘Furthermore, under articles 296 and 297 of the Versailles Treaty all enemy aliens lost their beneficial interests in property held in Britain as of 11 January 1920; some exceptions were made as an act of grace but not as a legal right.’
      • ‘A pardon is an act of grace, proceeding from the power entrusted with the execution of the laws which exempts the individual, on whom it is bestowed, from the punishment the law inflicts for a crime he has committed.’
      • ‘On the other hand, the modern view of distributive justice, largely thanks to Smith himself, is that it is the duty, and not an act of grace, for the state to try to alleviate or abolish poverty.’
  • catch someone in the act

    • Surprise someone in the process of doing something wrong.

      ‘the thieves were caught in the act’
      • ‘Coun Sunderland said: ‘I want cameras which can catch them in the act and I believe people should be fined.’’
      • ‘However, during their third attack in nine days, they were caught in the act after police set up patrols and arrested them when they stole a handbag from a 46 year-old woman.’
      • ‘Unless nursing staff had caught him in the act then even with half-hourly or even quarter-hourly observations, that might not have altered the outcome.’
      • ‘NEARLY 100 of North Yorkshire's most prolific offenders will be swept off the streets if they are caught in the act again.’
      • ‘All propaganda is a sophisticated form of deception and she had been caught in the act of misdirecting the electorate.’
      • ‘The wives find out about the plot and put in a plan of their own to catch them in the act.’
      • ‘It's very difficult to arrest people unless we catch them in the act.’
      • ‘Night after night I heard the same excuse from every officer, until he is caught in the act of violating the restraining order by a police officer, no arrest can be made.’
      • ‘So he did a kamikaze attack on my fridge about 2 minutes before his bedtime and I caught him in the act and said, ‘Hey, Kitchen's CLOSED, it's time for bed.’’
      • ‘Then, in 1993, she was caught in the act of torching a neighbor's home in Ajo, Arizona, and sentenced to 15 years in prison.’
      • ‘They usually ask if you can identify the perpetrators and I've pointed out to them that if they arrive quickly, they'll catch them in the act.’
      • ‘And the council warned it would step up its campaign, with new powers meaning it could take firms to court even if it has not caught them in the act of dumping.’
      • ‘The court had heard how Frazer was caught in the act after a routine police patrol stopped the car he was driving as officers were suspicious following a spate of break ins.’
      • ‘Our covert approach to surveillance gives us an element of surprise over our targets, often catching them in the act.’
      • ‘A German company has sacked one of its employees for smoking at home after hiring a detective to catch him in the act.’
      • ‘At this point, a guy suddenly came along the pathway around the bend, and caught me in the act of arguing with the cat.’
      • ‘I followed her gaze to see Carter, who looked like he had been caught in the act of doing something wrong.’
      • ‘The difference was that we were caught in the act so we couldn't deny it.’
      • ‘The council also visits schools across the town to talk to children about the trouble they could get into if they were caught in the act.’
      • ‘They return the next night after Jule realises she has left her mobile somewhere in the house, but Hardenberg surprises them and catches them in the act.’
      discover, detect, find, come across, come upon, stumble on, chance on, light on, bring to light, turn up, expose, find out, unmask
      View synonyms
  • get one's act together

    • informal Galvanize oneself into organizing one's affairs effectively.

      • ‘After years of splitting the centre-left vote, thereby allowing the Conservatives to rule, progressives finally got their act together.’
      • ‘It's about time the authorities, who are supposed to dispose of this rubbish, got their act together.’
      • ‘After that, England got their act together, and going into today's game, England's overall record against Zimbabwe was 15 wins and 7 losses.’
      • ‘And indeed in the last ten minutes, Newry, in a better late than never style, finally got their act together up front.’
      • ‘They've got their act together again this year it looks like, after all their injuries last year.’
      • ‘Others likely to be affected will be the language press and it is time that they got their act together.’
      • ‘In the second half the winners got their act together and began to pass the ball well.’
      • ‘In the second half the home side got their act together and Tommy Bolger led the way when he scored in similar fashion to Lawlor, beating two defenders before slotting home in the 65th minute.’
      • ‘Farming organisations across Europe must get their act together to demand fairer prices from supermarkets for their members.’
      • ‘‘All we are doing is building on the experience of those parts of the country where local authorities and the NHS have got their act together,’ he said.’
      • ‘You need to get a grasp of the evidence, and in effect, get your act together.’
      • ‘That is why we need to get our act together in terms of organisation and resources so people get the best possible treatment.’
      • ‘The main reason is that women have got their act together more than men when it comes to looking after themselves.’
      • ‘But the team got their act together in the second half and the comeback began.’
      • ‘IT is about time York council and the race committee got their act together.’
      • ‘St George's is still a two-star hospital which shows they haven't got their act together.’
      • ‘The majority of places will have got their act together by now, but if they do miss the deadline they will still have time to apply for a new licence by November.’
      • ‘The reality is that schools and local education authorities quickly got their act together and employed every conceivable strategy to avoid the ultimate, untenable situation, of turning pupils away.’
      • ‘Other counties seem to have got their act together and provide each household with plastic crates.’
      • ‘We showed a lot more commitment and one or two of the lads really got their act together and played with a good deal more passion.’
      recover, recover control of oneself, regain control of oneself, recover control of one's emotions, regain control of one's emotions, recover one's composure, regain one's composure, recover one's calm, regain one's calm, recover one's self-control, regain one's self-control, get a grip on oneself, get a hold on oneself, take a grip on oneself, take a hold on oneself, pull oneself together, get over it, become one's old self, get better, cheer up, become cheerful, perk up
      View synonyms
  • get (or be) in on the act

    • informal Become (or be) involved in a particular activity, in order to gain an advantage.

      ‘many German breeders want to get in on the act’
      • ‘His parents were acrobats in vaudeville, and by the time he was three, Buster was in on the act.’
      • ‘This reporter got in on the act by showing the new and improved card that's less susceptible to forgery.’
      • ‘Nevermind that newspapers got in on the act of turning unsubstantiated gossip into an art form, long before TV, radio and the Internet were around.’
      • ‘The teachers also got in on the act, with Cruella De Ville, Captain Hook and the Wicked Stepsisters taking lessons for the day.’
      • ‘The English aristocracy got in on the act during the Tudor period when a three-storey treehouse and banqueting hall was built in the branches of a linden tree at Cobham Hall in Kent.’
      • ‘Cole and opposite number Hughes exchanged penalties before Parsons got in on the act again to give his side a 23-3 half-time lead.’
      • ‘One member said: ‘He has not got involved at all with this and just wants to get in on the act for publicity purposes to make it look as though he has helped resolve it.’’
      • ‘Women got in on the act as well, becoming standard bearers for their gender and icons to a generation.’
      • ‘With the game well in hand, a pair of freshmen got in on the act as safety Zurisko and defensive end Figore scored defensive touchdowns in the fourth quarter at Veterans Memorial Field.’
      • ‘Even the BBC got in on the act, with a beautifully cheeky gloating graphic that caused more than a few double-takes.’
      • ‘And libraries have also been getting in on the act with book quizzes and other activities to help youngsters experience the magic of reading.’
      • ‘The third-level institutions also got in on the act, signing the bilateral agreements that are worth an estimated €31.4 million to the Irish economy.’
      • ‘While developers sold bad deals to interstate investors who didn't know Gold Coast values, locals who did know got in on the act.’
      • ‘Britney, Madonna, All Saints and other girlie bands and magazines then got in on the act and a new tradition was born.’
      • ‘The prosecutor-general's office, charged under the constitution with ensuring observance of the law in Russia, got in on the act by introducing a number of amendments to the criminal code.’
      • ‘Even the Prime Minister got in on the act, telling the band that the country had never wanted them to come and hoped they would never come back.’
      • ‘Liam got in on the act, naturally, and made it 4-0 at half time.’
      • ‘He saw that direct banking was the future and he thought it essential that the company was in on the act.’
      • ‘The Mayor, who originally hails from the village, got in on the act also and entertained those present with a few stories.’
      • ‘Angry shareholders have also got in on the act - the company is facing potential class-action law suits in America and strong pressure to change its unique corporate-governance structure.’
  • a hard (or tough) act to follow

    • An achievement or performance which sets a standard regarded as being hard for others to measure up to.

      ‘it was not easy being the second President of the United States; George Washington was a hard act to follow’
      • ‘‘Ann certainly left everything in good working order, she's a tough act to follow but I'm sure we can keep things to a high standard,’ she said.’
      • ‘I realise that Andrew Hunter will be a tough act to follow.’
      • ‘One told her that she'll be a tough act to follow.’
      • ‘She will be a tough act to follow and rival fashion executives are speculating that she is leaving while the going is still good.’
      • ‘The producers knew that would be a tough act to follow.’
      • ‘P J is a tough act to follow so the best of luck John!’
      • ‘Jackson was a tough act to follow, but the two teams provided viewers with a spellbinding second half.’
      • ‘It's a dizzying height that I'm not really used to, and it is a tough act to follow.’
      • ‘And I'm thinking, Broadway, ‘Producers,’ that's a tough act to follow.’
      • ‘After the record setting game the week previous, the team had a tough act to follow, but the Canada West Championship was on the line and the Vanier Cup was only two wins away.’
      • ‘She has been a great inspiration and she's certainly going to be a hard act to follow.’
      • ‘Well, two presidents and a former VP are a tough act to follow.’
      • ‘As I said earlier, you have a tough act to follow, but you're highly qualified, and I'm sure you will represent your country well here in the United States.’
      • ‘He gave a huge investment of his time and was a tough act to follow.’
      • ‘He will be a hard act to follow but I hope, that as a long standing resident myself with three children in local schools, I will be a worthy successor to him.’
      • ‘Mackay, who successfully oversaw a radical restructuring of the group, will be a tough act to follow.’
      • ‘It's a tough act to follow and it's got rave reviews so it's slightly different.’
      • ‘The Commonwealth Games baton has been passed on to Melbourne, but organisers of the 2006 event admit they have a tough act to follow.’
      • ‘Stephenson can be justifiably proud of his achievements over the last three seasons and John has a hard act to follow.’
      • ‘He's a hard act to follow but I relish the challenge and look forward to working with a fine team of people.’
  • in the act of

    • In the process of.

      ‘they photographed him in the act of reading other people's mail’
      • ‘I react to what I read, both in the act of reading and when I have finished a particular work.’
      • ‘It's just about the most perfect picture of someone in the act of blogging I've ever seen.’
      • ‘One of his favourite stories is of the day when he caught some villains in the act of shooting with an air gun at his beehives in the Pheasantry Garden of Bushy Park.’
      • ‘He moved closer to the nearest capital to inspect its carving, a vigorous Romanesque scene of a monkey in the act of winding up a crossbow.’
      • ‘I think that the kids caught in the act of vandalism or anything criminal should be handcuffed and taken to the police station.’
      • ‘Cllr Denwood says she is urging city officials to prosecute anyone caught in the act of dumping rubbish illegally.’
      • ‘Actually being in the act of changing a wheel, providing a copy of a spares receipt are another couple of good things to back up your assertions.’
      • ‘His wife smelt something burning and went to investigate, only to find him in the act of now setting the room on fire.’
      • ‘Visually stunning, the film also constantly reminds us we're in the act of watching a movie.’
      • ‘A defining moment came on the stroke of half time, when a compelling sequence saw the last man tackled into touch in the act of scoring.’
      • ‘Just as we went to press last night, our staff members caught two men in the act of removing the cameras.’
      • ‘The Norwegian made an impressive amount of ground to get there and tweaked his hamstring in the act of stretching for the ball.’
      • ‘Why should they benefit from the protection of individual rights when they are in the act of violating another's rights?’
      • ‘There he suddenly was, forever captured in the act of reading my words of love to my fiancé, Alexander.’
      • ‘It is just a shame that Cllr Hudson has nothing better to do than try to catch his fellow councillors in the act of helping out in the community.’
      • ‘Mr Ishaq also revealed that discussions had been held about the possibility of seizing the cars of litterbugs caught in the act of flytipping.’
      • ‘Yet, this does not explain what is at stake in the act of witnessing.’
      • ‘Police believe he was in the act of transporting the bomb for paramilitary use when it blew up.’
      • ‘Last month a couple returned to their Aughan Park home to disturb an intruder in the act of robbing their house.’
      • ‘I paused in the act of buffing my expensively manicured toenails, startled.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • act up

    • 1(of a thing) fail to function properly.

      ‘the plane's engine was acting up’
      • ‘My modem is acting up so it took forever to log on, shades of things to come.’
      • ‘My leg was acting up, painful and disobedient, but no more than it has a hundred times before.’
      • ‘‘The gearbox started acting up real early in the race, and we didn't think that we would make it,’ said Macaluso.’
      • ‘The laptop computer that we have been using for performing pulmonary function tests had been acting up lately, overheating and shutting itself off.’
      • ‘A couple of weeks ago it started acting up: even after leaving it all night to charge, it sometimes doesn't charge at all.’
      • ‘Then again, my body did like to pick the wrong times to start acting up.’
      • ‘Her right knee was acting up a bit from soccer the day before, and besides, she just didn't feel like it.’
      • ‘Their Internet connection is acting up, so I mucked about and deduced that either Shaw is having issues or stranger things are afoot, then promptly fell asleep.’
      • ‘I think the service is messed up here, it was acting up before the phone broke.’
      • ‘Later I learned that he had thought I was having a problem with the gauge, which had been acting up a few weeks earlier.’
      • ‘My PC has been acting up badly for the past month.’
      • ‘The back still acts up now and again, but the diet at least makes it possible to swing the club - and he has lost 20 lb in weight.’
      • ‘I reckon I covered a mile before my legs started to act up.’
      • ‘But the record player, which has been acting up for months now, wheezed a few breaths before officially dying.’
      • ‘Alas, the desktop computer which was acting up before I'd left has now failed again.’
      • ‘A few weeks back I mentioned that the gear box in the car was acting up a bit, earlier today it went kaput.’
      • ‘No point in fighting it, though I do think it strange that both this and the preceding two monitors started acting up within a couple of months of the end of the guarantee.’
      • ‘I don't think psychologists have to deal with their own computers when they start to act up.’
      • ‘Fortunately I had cut a new CD-Rom backup only the day before the system started acting up so all is not lost.’
      • ‘For instance, this morning I wanted to print some details for Mike and Joan's travel insurance and the printer started to act up, Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.’
      malfunction, crash, develop a fault, go wrong, break down, give out, stall, be defective, be faulty, fail, cease to function, cease to work, stop working
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Behave badly.
        ‘all children talk back and act up from time to time’
        • ‘They're all fab and they tell me when I'm acting up, and laugh at me as much as possible which, I think, is very important and very British.’
        • ‘Lloyd said a dip in quality of teaching meant some well-behaved primary school pupils began to act up in the first year at their comprehensive.’
        • ‘The pupils said the boy was known for his disruptive behaviour and had been acting up in the lesson that day.’
        • ‘The French fish fight hard and don't stop acting up once they're out of the water.’
        • ‘Here's what she should do: every time one of the little blighters starts acting up, simply threaten to show them one of his movies.’
        • ‘If the hoodie gangs go elsewhere and act up, that's not their problem - indeed, if the shopping centre becomes safer than the average High street, it might even make them more money.’
        • ‘What's sad, is that I felt embarrassed: I was obviously very disturbed, was acting up at school and needed counselling, yet the stigma of seeing a child psychiatrist was hard to bear.’
        • ‘The little feller's been acting up a bit lately; pounding up and down while making lengthy speeches and various other odd things.’
        • ‘The day we visit the kindergarten is only the second time in his life that Ed acts up.’
        • ‘Eventually, Peter moves into the house too, also shared by a slightly loopy spinster, Miss Byron, and the pair feel free to reject society's expectations by acting up.’
        • ‘As usual, Mac was acting up, arguing about line-calls and holding up play as he ranted at the umpire.’
        • ‘Patsy said: ‘They can feel quite isolated and often the pupils act up more with an unfamiliar teacher.’’
        • ‘She really toughened up and started bunking off school and acting up.’
        • ‘The head of the school says the children were encouraged to act up for the cameras.’
        • ‘So at school I used to act up and get into trouble, and then I'd go home to my mum and start crying because I thought the teacher didn't like me.’
        • ‘The teenager was asked about conversations he had with the dean at Los Angeles' John Burroughs Middle School, where the boy had a history of acting up in class.’
        • ‘I was polite, and I pleased my demanding grandmother, I never acted up, I wore dresses, and was the best girl anyone could hope for.’
        • ‘In his three-year-old debut at Gulfstream in January, Friends Lake acted up at the gate and ran badly in the Holy Bull, finishing third, 12 lengths behind the winner.’
        • ‘Last year she started smelling pretty bad and acting up so Mum made her sleep outside in the wood shed during the summer.’
        • ‘A boy is sent out of class for acting up: he resists with all his might the idea that he should conclude it is better not to act up.’
        misbehave, give someone trouble, cause someone trouble, act badly, get up to mischief, get up to no good, be bad, be naughty, forget oneself, misconduct oneself
        View synonyms
    • 2Be promoted to a more senior position on a temporary basis.

      • ‘To the extent that he had greater experience that was because he had been allowed to act up on the retirement of Ms Herman.’
      • ‘One junior officer admitted to acting up as Watch Manager in charge of his station - two ranks above his actual level - on 14 occasions.’
      • ‘As reported last month, the unofficial action involves firefighters across London refusing to act up as officers.’
      • ‘What is the process for being put forward for promotion or acting up; your line manager can do it, or somebody you work with can do it, but somebody else has a final say?’
      • ‘To this Mr Howat is prepared, in deference to the inclusion of ‘deputies’ in the memorandum, to add officers acting up in the rank of superintendent, but no more.’
      • ‘When someone is acting up it takes another uniform off the street,’ he said.’
      • ‘So there is, for example, no acting up to cover for unfilled posts.’
      • ‘He said: ‘There have been problems due to some staff being unwilling to act up.’’

Origin

Late Middle English: from Latin actus ‘event, thing done’, act- ‘done’, from the verb agere, reinforced by the French noun acte.

Pronunciation

act

/akt/

Main definitions of act in English

: act1ACT2

ACT2

abbreviation

  • 1Advance corporation tax.

  • 2Australian Capital Territory.

Pronunciation

ACT

/eɪsiːˈtiː/