Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of action
Meaning of action by Wiktionary Dictionary



    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 .


    • IPA: /ˈæk.ʃən/, X-SAMPA: /"{kS@n/
    • Rhymes: -ækʃən


    action ( plural: actions )

    1. Something done so as to accomplish a purpose .
    2. A way of motion or functioning .
      Knead bread with a rocking action .
    3. A fast-paced activity .
      an action movie
    4. A mechanism; a moving part or assembly .
      a rifle action
    5. ( music ): The mechanism, that is the set of moving mechanical parts, of a keyboard instrument, like a piano, which transfers the motion of the key to the sound-making device.[1]
    6. ( slang ) sexual intercourse .
      She gave him some action .
    7. The distance separating the strings and the fretboard on the guitar .
    8. ( military ) Combat .
      He saw some action in the Korean War .
    9. ( law ) A charge or other process in a law court ( also called lawsuit and actio ) .
    10. ( mathematics ) A homomorphism from a group to a group of automorphisms .
      One of the earliest uses of groups, according to lore, was the study of the action of S_3 on the equilateral triangle .

    Derived terms

    Related terms

    See also

    • deed
    • Appendix:Collocations of do, have, make, and take



    1. Demanding or signifying the start of something, usually an act or scene of a theatric performance .
      The director yelled ‘Action!’ before the camera started rolling .


    action ( third-person singular simple present actions present participle actioning, simple past and past participle actioned )

    1. ( transitive, management ) To act on a request etc, in order to put it into effect.
    2. ( transitive, chiefly archaic ) To initiate a legal action against someone.

    Usage notes

    See also

    1. ^ Marshall Cavendish Corporation Growing Up with Science p.1079
    2. ^ “She Literally Exploded : The Daily Telegraph Infuriating Phrasebook”, Christopher Howse and Richard Preston ( Constable‧London, 2007; ISBN 978‒1‒84529‒675‒9 ), page 3

    External links

    • action in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
    • action in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911


Explanation of action by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. put in effect

    2. He actioned the operation
    3. institute legal proceedings against

    4. She actioned the company for discrimination
    1. something done ( usually as opposed to something said )

    2. there were stories of murders and other unnatural actions
    3. the most important or interesting work or activity in a specific area or field

    4. the action is no longer in technology stocks but in municipal bonds
      gawkers always try to get as close to the action as possible
    5. a military engagement

    6. he saw action in Korea
    7. a judicial proceeding brought by one party against another

    8. an act by a government body or supranational organization

    9. recent federal action undermined the segregationist position
      the United Nations must have the power to propose and organize action without being hobbled by irrelevant issues
      the Union action of emancipating Southern slaves
    10. the operating part that transmits power to a mechanism

    11. the piano had a very stiff action
    12. the trait of being active and energetic and forceful

    13. a man of action
    14. the series of events that form a plot

    15. his novels always have a lot of action
    16. a process existing in or produced by nature ( rather than by the intent of human beings )

    17. the action of natural forces
    18. the state of being active

    19. he is out of action

    Definition of action by GCIDE Dictionary


    1. Action n. [OF. action, L. actio, fr. agere to do. See Act.]
      1. 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; as, “the action of heat; a man of action.”

      One wise in council, one in action brave. Pope.

      2. An act; a thing done; a deed; an enterprise. ( pl. ): Habitual deeds; hence, conduct; behavior; demeanor.

      The Lord is a Good of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. 1 Sam. ii. 3.

      3. 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.

      4. Movement; as, “the horse has a spirited action”.

      5. ( Mech. ) Effective motion; also, mechanism; as, “the breech action of a gun”.

      6. ( Physiol. ) Any one of the active processes going on in an organism; the performance of a function; as, “the action of the heart, the muscles, or the gastric juice”.

      7. ( Orat. ) Gesticulation; the external deportment of the speaker, or the suiting of his attitude, voice, gestures, and countenance, to the subject, or to the feelings.

      8. ( Paint. & Sculp. ) The attitude or position of the several parts of the body as expressive of the sentiment or passion depicted.

      9. ( Law ) A suit or process, by which a demand is made of a right in a court of justice; in a broad sense, a judicial proceeding for the enforcement or protection of a right, the redress or prevention of a wrong, or the punishment of a public offense. A right of action; as, “the law gives an action for every claim”.

      10. ( Com. ) A share in the capital stock of a joint-stock company, or in the public funds; hence, in the plural, equivalent to stocks. [A Gallicism] [Obs.]

      The Euripus of funds and actions. Burke.

      11. An engagement between troops in war, whether on land or water; a battle; a fight; as, “a general action, a partial action”.

      12. ( Music ) The mechanical contrivance by means of which the impulse of the player's finger is transmitted to the strings of a pianoforte or to the valve of an organ pipe. Grove.

      Chose in action. ( Law ) See Chose. -- Quantity of action ( Physics ), the product of the mass of a body by the space it runs through, and its velocity.

      Syn. -- Action, Act. In many cases action and act are synonymous; but some distinction is observable. Action involves the mode or process of acting, and is usually viewed as occupying some time in doing. Act has more reference to the effect, or the operation as complete.

      To poke the fire is an act, to reconcile friends who have quarreled is a praiseworthy action. C. J. Smith.