from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The state or process of acting or doing.
  • noun Something that is done or accomplished; a deed.
  • noun Organized activity to accomplish an objective.
  • noun The causation of change by the exertion of power or a natural process.
  • noun Habitual or vigorous activity; energy.
  • noun Behavior or conduct.
  • noun Law A proceeding brought before a court to obtain relief; a lawsuit.
  • noun Armed encounter; combat.
  • noun An engagement between troops or ships.
  • noun The most important or exciting work or activity in a specific field or area.
  • noun A movement or a series of movements, as of an actor.
  • noun Manner of movement.
  • noun The appearance of animation of a figure in painting or sculpture.
  • noun The series of events and episodes that form the plot of a story or play.
  • noun A series or number of fast-moving, exciting, or dangerous events, especially in a movie.
  • noun The operating parts of a mechanism.
  • noun The manner in which such parts operate.
  • noun The manner in which a musical instrument can be played; playability.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To bring a legal action against.
  • noun The process or state of acting or of being active, as opposed to rest; change of which the cause lies within the subject; activity; active exertion; energy manifested in outward acts, as contrasted with contemplation, speculation, speaking, or writing: as, a man of action.
  • noun An event considered as predicated of its cause; an act, usually in a complex or an inclusive sense; that which is done about or in relation to anything; a specific performance, proceeding, or course of conduct: as, a good or a bad action; actions speak louder than words; the action of a deliberative body.
  • noun An exertion of power or force; the real relation of a cause to its effect; causality; influence; agency; operation; impulse: as, the action of wind upon a ship's sails.
  • noun Manner of moving; kind of motion or physical performance: as, this horse has fine action; the action of a machine.
  • noun In rhetoric, gesture or gesticulation; the deportment of the speaker, or the accommodation of his attitude, voice, gestures, and countenance to the subject, or to the thoughts and feelings expressed.
  • noun In poetry and the drama, the connected series of events on which the interest of the piece depends; the main subject or story, as distinguished from an incidental action or episode. Unity of action is one of the dramatic unities.
  • noun In physiology: Any one of the active processes going on in an organized body; some manifestation of vital activity; the performance of a function: as, the action of the stomach or the gastric juice on the food; a morbid action of the liver.
  • noun A more or less complex muscular effort.
  • noun In law: A proceeding instituted in court by one or more parties against another or others to enforce a right, or punish or redress a wrong: distinguished from judicial proceedings which are not controversial in form, as the probate of a will.
  • noun Such a proceeding under the forms of the common law, as distinguished from a chancery suit and a criminal prosecution.
  • noun The right of bringing an action: as, the law gives an action for every claim.
  • noun In the fine arts: The appearance of animation, movement, or passion given to figures by their attitude, position, or expression, either singly or concurrently.
  • noun The event or episode represented or illustrated by a work of art.
  • noun A military fight; a minor engagement between armed bodies of men, whether on land or water: of less importance than a battle. See battle.
  • noun In machinery: The mechanism of a breech-loading gun by which it is opened to receive the charge.
  • noun That part of the mechanism of a pianoforte, an organ, or other similar instrument by which the action of the fingers upon the keys is transmitted to the strings, reeds, etc.
  • noun A share in the capital stock of a company; in the plural, stocks, or shares of stock.
  • noun In firearms, when the locks are bedded into the stock alone. E. H. Knight.
  • noun In mech., the sum of the average momenta of the elements of a moving system, each multiplied by the distance through which it moves.
  • noun In dynamo-electric machines, wasteful internal circuits in the pole-pieces or cores; eddy, parasitic, or Foucault currents.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A process or condition of acting or moving, as opposed to rest; the doing of something; exertion of power or force, as when one body acts on another; the effect of power exerted on one body by another; agency; activity; operation
  • noun An act; a thing done; a deed; an enterprise. (pl.): Habitual deeds; hence, conduct; behavior; demeanor.
  • noun The event or connected series of events, either real or imaginary, forming the subject of a play, poem, or other composition; the unfolding of the drama of events.
  • noun Movement.
  • noun (Mech.) Effective motion; also, mechanism.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English accion, from Old French action, from Latin āctiō ("act of doing or making"), from āctus, perfect passive participle of agō ("do, act"), + action suffix -iō; see act.


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  • Since 'to know' is not an action and since reduplication expresses a resultant state from an *action* as outlined above, naturally there can be no reduplicated forms possible for these stative verbs.

    Archive 2009-09-01 2009

  • Since 'to know' is not an action and since reduplication expresses a resultant state from an *action* as outlined above, naturally there can be no reduplicated forms possible for these stative verbs.

    New thought: A 2D matrix of eventive/non-eventive and subjective/objective 2009

  • In particular, if in the EPR/B experiment the L-apparatus pointer has a definite position before the L-measurement and the R-particle temporarily comes to possess definite position during the L-measurement, then the GRW/Pearle models involve action at a distance and thus also action* at a distance.

    Action at a Distance in Quantum Mechanics Berkovitz, Joseph 2007

  • If, on scientific principles, it can be proved that those verbs generally denominated neuter, _originally_ expressed action, their present, accepted meaning will still oppose the theory, for the generality of mankind do not attach to them the idea of _action_.

    English Grammar in Familiar Lectures Samuel Kirkham

  • These are known as _reflex action, voluntary action_, and

    Physiology and Hygiene for Secondary Schools Francis M. Walters

  • _Beautiful_, for instance, is said not only of a successful expression, but also of a scientific truth, of an action successfully achieved, and of a moral action: thus we talk of an _intellectual beauty_, of a _beautiful action_, of a _moral beauty_.

    Aesthetic as Science of Expression and General Linguistic Benedetto Croce 1909

  • Just as in Aesthetic the individuality of expression made models and rules impossible, so in practical life the individuality of action removes the possibility of catalogues of virtues, of the exact application of laws, of the existence of practical judgments and judgments of value _previous to action_.

    Aesthetic as Science of Expression and General Linguistic Benedetto Croce 1909

  • Study the pictures of Theodore Roosevelt and of Billy Sunday in action -- _action_ is the word.

    The Art of Public Speaking Dale Carnagey 1906

  • Each being cuts up the material world according to the lines that its action must follow: it is these lines of _possible action_ that, by intercrossing, mark out the net of experience of which each mesh is a fact.

    Evolution créatrice. English Henri Bergson 1900

  • You may judge that my sphere of action -- speaking of _action_ in a literal sense -- was rather circumscribed at Gwinnett courthouse: but, the fact is, I was then but acquiring my education.

    Guy Rivers: A Tale of Georgia William Gilmore Simms 1838


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  • "Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought." Henri Bergson

    January 11, 2007

  • This is called during filming to indicate the start of the current take.

    May 13, 2008

  • See love comments

    March 26, 2012

  • thats a great word "action"

    April 28, 2012