act1 [ ækt ] noun ***
▸ 1 single thing someone does
▸ 2 law
▸ 3 part of play, etc.
▸ 4 performance
▸ 5 behavior hiding truth
1. ) count a single thing that someone does:
act of violence/vandalism/terrorism/kindness/bravery/desperation etc.: No act of kindness is ever wasted.
We strongly condemn any act of violence against innocent people.
unlawful/criminal/wrongful/illegal etc. act: groups committing criminal acts
a ) be in the act of doing something to be doing something at a particular moment, especially when something else happens or when someone interrupts you:
She stopped in the act of turning and stared at me.
b ) catch someone in the act (of doing something) to find someone and interrupt them when they are doing something wrong:
He denies all guilt, even though he was caught in the act.
2. ) count a law passed by a country's government:
an act of Congress
3. ) count one of the parts that a play, OPERA, or BALLET is divided into. Each act is divided into two or more SCENES:
She has a small walk-on part at the beginning of the first act.
Act 1, Scene 2
4. ) count a short performance by a COMEDIAN, MAGICIAN, or other performer:
He eats fire as part of his act.
a ) a singer, band, or other person or group who performs on stage. Two people who perform together, especially two COMEDIANS, are called a double act:
They remain one of rock music's most exciting live acts.
5. ) singular a way of behaving that does not show what someone is really like or what they really feel:
She isn't really upset; it's all an act.
put on an act: She's just putting on an act because the boys are here.
balancing/juggling act
a situation in which someone has to do several different things at the same time
be a hard/tough act to follow
to do something so well that others who do it after you do not feel very confident about being successful:
Ken's a hard act to follow, but I'll do my best.
get your act together INFORMAL
to organize your life or work in a better way, especially by having clear goals and a plan for achieving them:
If you want to be finished by Monday, you'll have to get your act together.
get in on the act
to take part in an activity that someone else is doing, in order to gain some of the advantages for yourself:
First it was politicians, now a novelist has decided to get in on the act.
act 2 [ ækt ] verb ***
▸ 1 do something
▸ 2 do a particular job
▸ 3 behave in a certain way
▸ 4 perform in plays/movies
▸ 5 have a particular effect
1. ) intransitive to do something for a particular reason or in a particular way:
act in good faith (=believe that you are acting honestly): We acted in good faith we did not know the goods were stolen.
act out of necessity/desperation/love/compassion/curiosity etc.: She claims that she acted out of necessity (=because she had to).
act on someone's advice/suggestion/orders: I'm acting on the advice of my lawyers.
a ) to do something immediately, especially in order to deal with an urgent problem:
Had the paramedics not acted so swiftly, he would have died.
act to do something: We must act now to prevent further damage to our rainforests.
b ) if you act for someone, you do something as their representative:
Lawyers acting for the family will issue a statement this morning.
act on someone's behalf: a dealer acting on behalf of a private buyer
2. ) intransitive act as to do the job of a particular kind of person:
You speak Greek will you act as interpreter?
3. ) intransitive to behave in a particular way, especially a way that is unusual or annoying:
Stop acting stupid!
act like: I've acted like a total idiot.
act suspiciously/strangely: A man was seen acting suspiciously twenty minutes before the robbery.
act as if: Just act as if nothing's happened.
a ) to behave in a particular way by doing something:
act reasonably/fairly/illegally/responsibly/dishonestly etc.: Did the network act reasonably in firing the reporter?
The court must establish whether the accused acted illegally.
4. ) intransitive or transitive to perform in plays or movies:
I've always wanted to act.
act the part/role (of someone/something): Burt Lancaster acted the part of Joseph.
5. ) intransitive act as to have a particular effect:
The drugs act as a brake on the spread of the disease.
a ) to start to have an effect:
Don't expect the medicine to act immediately.
,act `out phrasal verb transitive
1. ) to copy the events that happened in a situation by pretending to be the people involved:
The scenarios that the trainees act out are videotaped.
2. ) to express your thoughts or feelings through your words or behavior:
He was acting out his feelings of inferiority by being overly aggressive.
,act `up phrasal verb intransitive INFORMAL
1. ) if children act up, they behave badly:
The kids have been acting up again.
2. ) if a part of your body or a piece of equipment acts up, it starts to become painful or to develop problems:
I hope my back doesn't start acting up again.

Usage of the words and phrases in modern English. 2013.


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