Date: 1300-1400
Language: Latin
Origin: actus 'doing, act' and actum 'thing done, record', from the past participle of agere 'to drive, do'


1 noun
act1 S1 W1


[countable] one thing that you do:
The new president's first act should be to end the war.
a thoughtless act
act of (doing) something
an act of violence
her many acts of kindness
The act of writing a list can help to calm you down.
in the act of doing something (=at the moment that you are doing something)
Lindsay paused in the act of putting down the phone.


also Act [countable] a law that has been officially accepted by Parliament or Congress:
the Housing and Community Development Act of 1977
an act of Parliament


[singular] insincere behaviour in which you pretend to have a particular kind of feeling or to be a particular kind of person:
Mike played the loving husband in front of the children but it was all an act.
Be natural. Don't feel you have to put on an act.

get your act together

informal to become more organized and behave in a more effective way, especially in order to achieve something:
You need to get your act together if you're going to find the right house to buy.


[countable] one of the main parts into which a stage play, opera etc is divided:
I arrived at the theatre late and missed the first act.
the beginning of Act 3


[countable] a short performance on stage or television by someone who plays music or tells jokes:
The argument was just part of their act.


[countable] a performer or a group of performers who perform together:
The band is one of many acts that have been booked for the concert.

a hard/tough etc act to follow

someone who does such an excellent job that it would be difficult for someone doing the same job after them to be as good:
He has been a very successful captain and will be a hard act to follow.

get in on the act

informal to take part in an activity that someone else has started, especially in order to get a share of the advantages for yourself

act of God

an event that is caused by natural forces, such as a storm, flood, or fire, which you cannot prevent or control

act of worship

RR an occasion when people pray together and show their respect for God

balancing/juggling act

a situation in which you are trying to do several different types of work at the same time

➔ catch somebody in the act

at catch1 (3)

➔ clean up your act

at clean up (3)

Dictionary results for "act"
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