Definition of act out in US English:

act out

phrasal verb

  • Misbehave, especially when unhappy or stressed.

    ‘many children who act out while awaiting placement in a health care facility end up in juvenile detention’
    • ‘In any other administration someone who acted out as he did today would be fired.’
    • ‘If the artists really believed that this is a threat to culture, the skeptics say, they would act out.’
    • ‘They get so jealous of you this time of year, so they act out by being mean and telling you there's no Santa.’
    • ‘Despite all he's been through, the desire to act out with her is almost irresistible.’
    • ‘If the child acts out, do we react to the misbehavior or do we ask ourselves if the child is just tired or in need of attention.’
    • ‘I was a girl, a young girl that was really confused, that was really angry, that definitely acted out.’
    • ‘The country acts out like a spoiled teenager getting his knuckles tattooed because he knows Dad will be upset.’
    • ‘If it thinks it is the dominant dog, it will also be stressed, and act out very negatively.’
    • ‘She's stuck in the middle of a two family home, and she acts out to get attention.’
    • ‘If a child needs to feel more powerful, you can create positive and healthy opportunities for this to occur, before that camper acts out and seeks power in an inappropriate way.’
    • ‘They need to know how to manage someone who is frustrated, who may not be able to communicate, and who will act out if they are unhappy.’
    • ‘And then there is Morhange (Jean-Baptiste Maunier), a sweet-faced boy who only acts out because he misses his mother, Violette.’
    • ‘He acts out aggressively as a response to being territorial (wanting to be the only one on a slide - or possessive - wanting a toy train all to himself).’
    • ‘Throw in a little human interest, a little everyman, and a judge who's acting out.’
    • ‘She acts out to get attention, and probably to forget her pain.’
    • ‘A camper may be seeking attention or acting out due to being lonely or frustrated.’
    • ‘If you cheat on your wife, your kids may act out, which may include getting pregnant at 15.’
    • ‘Hitchcock says he often acts out when he feels his job is threatened because ‘the Eagle’ had to fight to get through the ranks.’