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From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishactionac‧tion1 /ˈækʃən/ ●●● S1 W1 noun  1 doing something [uncountable] the process of doing something, especially in order to achieve a particular thing The government must take action (=do something) now to stop the rise in violent crime.action on Environmental groups want tougher action on pollution from cars. She was looking forward to putting her ideas into action (=doing the things she had planned). Ambulance crews are ready to spring into action (=suddenly start doing something) if anything goes wrong during the race.2 something doneDO [countable] something that someone doesquick/swift/prompt action Her prompt actions probably saved my life. The child could not be held responsible for his actions (=he was too young to be blamed for them).defend/justify your action(s) The chief of police tried to justify his actions.3 in action4 out of action5 fightingWAR [uncountable] fighting during a war There have been reports of widespread enemy action in the area.killed/wounded in action (=killed or wounded while fighting) His father was killed in action in Vietnam. 530 servicemen were reported missing in action (=they were never seen again after a battle). The men were sent into action with little or no training. He had seen action (=been involved in fighting) in Korea.see thesaurus at war6 legal [countable, uncountable] a legal or formal process to decide whether someone has done something wrong They are threatening to take legal action against the hospital (=start a court case against them). The director faces disciplinary action (=official action to punish him). The matter is now the subject of a court action (=a court case). The students agreed to drop their action (=decided not to continue with a court case or an official complaint). The sisters brought a libel action against the newspaper (=started a court case).7 excitement [uncountable] a) informal exciting things that are happening There hasn’t been much action around here for months. New York is where all the action is. b) an action film has a lot of exciting scenes in it, in which people fight, chase, and kill each other Gibson became famous in action movies. a TV action hero8 the action9 movementMOVE/CHANGE POSITION [countable, uncountable] the way something moves or worksaction of the action of the heart a smooth braking action10 effectEFFECT/INFLUENCE [uncountable] the effect that a substance, especially a chemical, has on somethingaction of The drug blocks the action of the cancer gene.action on/upon the action of alcohol on the liver11 action group/committee etc12 a piece/slice of the action13 actions speak louder than words14 action! affirmative actionCOLLOCATIONSMeaning 1: the process of doing something, especially in order to achieve a particular thingverbstake action (=do something to deal with a problem)The government must take action to control inflation.demand/call for action (=ask forcefully)Voters are demanding tougher action on gun crime. swing/spring/leap into action (=suddenly start doing something)The fire crew immediately swung into action.put something into action (=start doing something you have planned to do)She was looking forward to putting her plans into action.The committee uses the expertise of local organisations to put these ideas into action.adjectivesimmediate/prompt/swift actionThe public wants immediate action to stop the terrorists.urgent action (=that needs to be done immediately)The Opposition called for urgent action to reduce unemployment.firm/tough actionWe need firm action to deal with the problem.decisive action (=that has a big effect on the way something develops)We are urging the international community to take decisive action on debt relief.drastic action (=that has a very severe effect)The president decided to take drastic action.further actionNo further action is necessary.direct action (=that is aimed at making a government or company do something)In a bid to stop whale hunting, Greenpeace have threatened direct action.political actionSome forms of political action are more effective than others.industrial/strike action (=that workers take in order to protest about pay, working conditions etc)The miners voted in favour of industrial action.joint action (=that two or more countries, organizations etc take together)Community leaders agreed to take joint action on scientific, social and environmental issues.phrasesa course of actionHave you decided on a course of action?a plan of actionThe General outlined his plan of action for the campaign.Environmental groups have put forward an action plan.COLLOCATIONSMeaning 5: fighting during a warphrasesbe killed/wounded in action (=killed or wounded while fighting)Four of her sons have been killed in action.be missing in action (=used to say that a soldier has not returned after a battle and their body has not been found)A further 9,000 allied military personnel are still officially listed as missing in action.verbssee action (=be involved in fighting)By the time he was 20 he’d seen action in the Gulf War and Bosnia.go into actionAmerican soldiers are going into action against the Mujahadin. be sent into actionHe declared that French soldiers will not be sent into action in Iraq.adjectivesmilitary actionAmerica is not ruling out military action against Iran.enemy actionThe ship was damaged by enemy action.COLLOCATIONSMeaning 6: a legal or formal process to decide whether someone has done something wrongadjectiveslegal actionThe singer threatened legal action against the magazine.court actionThe couple are still considering whether to take court action.a libel action (=taken against someone who has written or printed untrue statements about you)Judge Johan Kreigler dismissed a libel action brought against two newspapers.a civil action (=involving business or property, rather than a crime)The victim can seek damages in a civil action. verbstake legal actionHe is within his rights to take legal action.face legal actionThe council demanded that we remove the posters, or face legal action.bring a legal actionJustice Mayor ruled that she cannot bring a legal action for damages against the plaintiff. THESAURUSMeaning 2: something that someone doesaction noun [countable] something that someone doesHe is responsible for his own actions.They refused to give a reason for their actions.act noun [countable] a particular type of actionviolent acts | act of violence/kindness/defiance etcI believe the killing was an act of desperation.activities noun [plural] things that people do, especially for enjoyment or to achieve an aimleisure activitiespolitical activitiesSurveys may not give a true picture of people’s activities.behaviour British English, behavior American English noun [uncountable] the things that someone does and the way they behaveDo you think that advertisements really influence people’s behaviour? The man’s behaviour seemed rather odd.move noun [countable] something that you do in order to achieve somethingHer decision to sell the shares had been a smart move.It’s a bold move to start a business in the current economic climate.He needed time to figure out his next move.step noun [countable] one of a series of things that you do in order to deal with a problem or to succeedThe first step is to make sure we have got funding for the project.We must take steps to make sure that this does not happen again.This is an important step towards peace.measure noun [countable] an official action that is intended to deal with a particular problemThere are increased security measures at airports.The school was closed as a precautionary measure following a chemical leak.gesture noun [countable] something that you do to show how you feel about someone or somethingDo you think it would be a nice gesture to send her some flowers? | gesture of goodwill/solidarity/defianceThe company gave us £100 as a gesture of goodwill.deed noun [countable] especially literary an action, especially one that is very good or very badevil deedsheroic deedsThis is my good deed for the day.exploits noun [plural] formal exciting or brave actionsdaring exploitsHis exploits were legendary.feat noun [countable] something someone does that people admire because you need a lot of skill, courage, or strength to do itCompleting a marathon is a remarkable feat for a six-year-old.The bridge is a great feat of engineering.
Examples from the Corpus
actionan action-adventure movieBedell's financial problems do not excuse his actions.The child could not be held responsible for his actions.The manager is master only of his actions, not the outcomes of those actions.Some senators are urging military action.It's been politics as usual - all talk and no action.But the betting is the central bank will take no action on interest rates at that time.There was only one possible course of action - he had to resign.The agency has promised action on the pollution problem for years, but nothing has happened.Ben's prompt action probably saved my life.It's got a repeating action.The clock's action needs to be adjusted.Strong action is needed to restore law and order.The rock had been worn away by the action of the falling water.Jansen recounts the battle by describing the action on a pair of screens that the winner gave his daughter.You can't be blamed for the actions of your parents.Eventually we must try to decide whether even these theories are rich enough to govern the actions of our brains and minds.When the action ended, there were terrible losses on both sides.the action of the heartThese actions followed a Journal article in August that raised questions about the accuracy of company statements about its business affairs.In bringing this action, we did what we had to do.the horse's trotting actiontake actionThe President may step in and take action to lower energy prices.In becoming the best companies it is these attitudes that they seek out and take action to change.Unless governments take action, the Earth's atmosphere will continue to heat up.The third step is taking action about the concerns that are discussed.Police are not taking action until they know whether the men face charges.This meant that cases were sent where, clearly, the D.P.P. would not take action.What kind of reinforcement did you and others provide the person when he or she took action?Congress is expected to take action on campaign finance reform soon.The police were criticized for failing to take action during the riots.His narrow escape at Petit-Clamart finally convinced the General that it was time to take action to meet both dangers at once.The school will take strong action against any students using illegal drugs.In some cases we will take action against you which could lead to you being dismissed.Most people would take action in those circumstances.quick/swift/prompt actionIt will prevent the taking of prompt action to improve failing schools.Some pretty quick action had taken place and she had no doubt at all as to who had been issuing orders.Wall Street wants Greenspan to take quick action to boost the flagging economy.Elliot realized that prompt action was necessary, as did Anson Jones, president of the Republic of Texas.Speaking at a packed fringe meeting, however, Mr Heseltine urged quick action.With swift action and investment from all the industrialised nations, acid rain could become a thing of the past.Without prompt action, the zoo may be the only place where a safari is possible.enemy actionAlways known as Wesley's Cottage it was destroyed by enemy action in May 1941.Sadly, he says, all the actual trophies were destroyed by enemy action during the war.Between 1939 and 1945,80,000 men, women and children were killed by enemy action on the Home Front.He showed great fortitude and tenacity in carrying on his professional work in spite of adversity resulting from enemy action.take legal actionThe Commission is also taking legal action against most other member countries over water quality.Citizens' groups are taking legal action to prevent the expansion of the freeway.But of the 28,000 names affected by this scandal, 16,000 are currently taking legal action.Even those who did take legal action received little advantage from it.Cheltzie Hentz is taking legal action against two fellow primary school pupils after they swore at her on a bus.That's where legal expenses insurance helps - it protects against the cost of taking legal action.He asked that Woods' office take legal action to kill the district.Section 47 imposes a positive duty on investigating authorities to see the child and to take legal action if access is denied.The government will also provide a platform for farmers to take legal action against retailers if they feel they are being exploited.action heroAs an action hero, Fletcher fails miserably in this endeavor.Just ask Scratchman, the goofy action hero who crusades for truth, justice and the Texas Lottery.action on/uponPhysical knowledge is knowledge of properties of objects and is derived from actions on objects.The secretary of war approved his action on October 7,1837.Following an hourlong hearing, a three-member panel of judges took no immediate action on the lawsuit.The organisation which is gifted with intelligence shows it by arranging its actions on a certain plan ...Logical-mathematical knowledge is knowledge constructed from physical or mental actions on objects.It could never take regulatory action on the basis of a criticism or a complaint alone.The sanding action on all the surfaces we tested was excellent.Now he turned the sound down and watched the action on the screen.
action!action!AMFused by film directors to give the instruction to begin filming Lights, camera, action! actionactionaction2 verb [transitive] formal  to do a specific thing that needs to be done, especially after discussing it How are we actually going to action these objectives?→ See Verb tableFrom Longman Business Dictionaryactionac‧tion /ˈækʃən/ noun1[countable, uncountable] when someone does something in order to deal with a problem or difficult situationThe government’s action was prompted by shortages of foreign exchange.We must take action to make our shares accessible to a broader segment of the investing public. see also right of action affirmative action direct action industrial action job action secondary action strike action2[uncountable] when important things happen, for example when there is a lot of buying or selling or prices rise or fallThe tax cut was intended to restore some market action in the banking and real-estate sectors.3[countable, uncountable]LAW the process of taking a case or a claim against someone to a court of lawThey began an action to repossess the house.When the loan was not repaid, he threatened legal action.They will bring an action against him if he does not repay the loan. class action frivolous action personal action
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Verb table
Simple Form
I, you, we, theyaction
he, she, itactions
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I, you, he, she, it, we, theyactioned
Present perfect
I, you, we, theyhave actioned
he, she, ithas actioned
Past perfect
I, you, he, she, it, we, theyhad actioned
I, you, he, she, it, we, theywill action
Future perfect
I, you, he, she, it, we, theywill have actioned
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