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Webster 1913 Edition


Action

Ac′tion

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

Webster 1828 Edition


Action

AC'TION

,
Noun.
[L. actio. See Act.]
1.
Literally, a driving; hence, the state of acting or moving; exertion of power or force, as when one body acts on another; or action is the effect of power exerted on one body by another; motion produced. Hence, action is opposed to rest. Action, when produced by one body on another, is mechanical; when produced by the will of living being, spontaneous or voluntary.
[See Def. 3.]
2.
An act or thing done; a deed.
The Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him are actions weighed. 1Sam. 2.
3.
In mechanics, agency; operation; driving impulse; effort of one body upon another; as, the action of wind upon a ship's sails. Also the effect of such action.
4.
In ethics, the external signs or expression of the sentiments of a moral agent; conduct; behavior; demeanor; that is, motion or movement, with respect to a rule or propriety.
5.
In poetry, a series of events, called also the subject or fable; this is of two kinds; the principal action which is more strictly the fable, and the incidental action or episode.
6.
In oratory, gesture or gesticulation; the external deportment of the speaker, or the accommodation of his attitude, voice, gestures, and countenance to the subject, or to the thoughts and feelings of the mind.
7.
In physiology, the motions or functions of the body, vital, animal and natural; vital and involuntary, as the action of the heart and lungs; animal, as muscular, and all voluntary motions; natural, as manducation, deglutition, and digestion.
8.
In law, literally, an urging for right; a suit or process, by which a demand is made of a right; a claim made before a tribunal. Actions are real, personal or mixed; real, or feudal, when the demandant claims a title to real estate; personal when a man demands a debt, personal duty, or damages in lieu of it, or satisfaction for an injury to person or property; and mixed, when real estate is demanded, with damages for a wrong sustained. Actions are also civil or penal; civil, when instituted solely in behalf of private persons, to recover debts or damages; penal, when instituted to recover a penalty, imposed by way of punishment. The word is also used for a right of action; as, the law gives an action for every claim.
A chose in action, is a right to a thing, in opposition to the possession. A bond or note is a chose in action and gives the owner a right to prosecute his claim to the money, as he has an absolute property in a right, as well as in a thing, in possession.
9.
In some countries of Europe, action is a share in the capital stock of a company, or in the public funds, equivalent to our term share; and consequently, in a more general sense, to stocks. The word is also used for movable effects.
10.
In painting and sculpture, the attitude or position of the several parts of the body, by which they seem to be actuated by passions; as, the arm extended, to represent the act of giving or receiving.
11.
Battle; fight; engagement between troops in war, whether on land or water, or by a greater or smaller number of combatants. This and the 8th definition exhibit the literal meaning of action - a driving or urging.
Quantity of action, in physics, the product of the mass of a body by the space it runs through and its velocity.
In many cases action and act are synonymous; but some distinction between them is observable. Action seems to have more relation to the power that acts, and its operation and process of acting; and act, more relation to the effect or operation complete. Action is also more generally used for ordinary transactions; and act, for such as are remarkable, or dignified; as, all our actions should be regulated by prudence; a prince is distinguished by acts of heroism or humanity.
Action taking, in Shakespeare, is used for litigious.

Definition 2022


action

action

English

Noun

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 mapping from a pairing of mathematical objects to one of them, respecting their individual structures. The pairing is typically a Cartesian product or a tensor product. The object that is not part of the output is said to act on the other object. In any given context, action is used as an abbreviation for a more fully named notion, like group action or left group action.
  11. 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.
  12. (art, painting and sculpture) The attitude or position of the several parts of the body as expressive of the sentiment or passion depicted.
  13. (bowling) spin put on the bowling ball.
  14. (business, obsolete, a Gallicism) A share in the capital stock of a joint-stock company, or in the public funds.
    • Burke
      The Euripus of funds and actions.

Derived terms

Related terms

See also

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

Translations

Interjection

action

  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.

Translations

Verb

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.
    • 2004, Ros Jay, Richard Templar, “Fast thinking: project”, in Fast Thinking Manager's Manual, Second edition edition, Pearson Education, ISBN 9780273681052, Fast Thinking Leader, page 276:
      ‘Here, give me the minutes of Monday’s meeting. I’ll action your points for you while you get on and sort out the open day.’
    • 2005, Fritz Liebreich, “The physical confrontation: interception and diversion policies in theory and practice”, in Britain's Navel and Political Reaction to the Illegal Immigration of Jews to Palestine, 1945-1948, Routledge, ISBN 9780714656373, page 196:
      Violent reactions from the Jewish authorities were expected and difficulties of actioning the new guidelines were foreseen.
    • 2007, Great Britain: Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, “Case study: 11257”, in Tax Credits: Getting it wrong? 5th report session 2006-2007, The Stationery Office, ISBN 9780102951172, Chapter 2: Changes and developments since June 2005, page 26:
      HMRC said that one reason they had not actioned her appeal was because she had said in her appeal form ‘I am appealing against the overpayment for childcare for 2003-04, 2004-05’, thus implying she was disputing her ‘overpayment’.
  2. (transitive, chiefly archaic) To initiate a legal action against someone.
    • 1856, Thomas Chandler Haliburton, The Attaché: or Sam Slick in England, New Revised Edition edition, Stringer & Townsend, Chapter XLVII: The Horse Stealer; or All Trades Have Tricks But Our Own, page 270:
      ‘I have no business to settle with you—arrest me, Sir, at your peril and I’ll action you in law for false imprisonment.’
    • 1844, Robert Mackenzie Daniel, The Grave Digger: A novel by the author of The Scottish Heiress, volume I, T. C. Newby, Chapter IX: How the Grave-differ entertained a lady, pages 189-190:
      “Scrip threatened me at first with an action for slander—he spoke of actions to the wrong man though—action! no, no no. I should have actioned him—ha! ha! [...]”
    • 1871, Michael Shermer, quoting Alfred Russell Wallace, In Darwin’s shadow: The Life and Science of Alfred Russell Wallace, Oxford University Press US, published 2002, ISBN 9780195148305, Chapter 10. Heretic Personality, page 261:
      I have actioned him for Libel, but he won’t plead, and says he will make himself bankrupt & won’t pay a penny.
    • 1996, Darryl Mark Ogier, “Discipline: Enforcement”, in Reformation and Society in Guernsey, Boydell & Brewer, ISBN 9780851156033, Part Two: The Calvinist Regime, page 148:
      In 1589 the Court went so far as to effect a reconciliation between Michel le Petevin and his wife after she actioned him for ill treatment and adultery with their chambermaid.

Usage notes

  • The verb sense action is rejected by some usage authorities.[2]

References

  • OED 2nd edition 1989
  • Notes:
  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

Anagrams


French

Etymology

Old French acciun, aucion, etymologically reconstructed in Middle French to resemble the Latin actiō.

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /ak.sjɔ̃/

Noun

action f (plural actions)

  1. action, act
  2. campaign
    une action promotionnelle
    a promotional campaign
  3. stock, share
    une action de capitalisation
    a capitalisation share
  4. (Switzerland) a special offer

Anagrams


Middle French

Etymology

Old French acciun, aucion, etymologically reconstructed to resemble the Latin actiō.

Noun

action f (plural actions)

  1. action; act