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acting Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun the performance of a part or role in a drama
    performing; playacting; playing.
  2. verb perform an action, or work out or perform (an action)
    move; act.
    • think before you act
    • We must move quickly
    • The governor should act on the new energy bill
    • The nanny acted quickly by grabbing the toddler and covering him with a wet towel
  3. verb behave in a certain manner; show a certain behavior; conduct or comport oneself
    do; behave; act.
    • You should act like an adult
    • Don't behave like a fool
    • What makes her do this way?
    • The dog acts ferocious, but he is really afraid of people
  4. verb play a role or part
    represent; play; act.
    • Gielgud played Hamlet
    • She wants to act Lady Macbeth, but she is too young for the role
    • She played the servant to her husband's master
  5. verb discharge one's duties
    • She acts as the chair
    • In what capacity are you acting?
  6. verb pretend to have certain qualities or state of mind
    play; act as; act.
    • He acted the idiot
    • She plays deaf when the news are bad
  7. verb be suitable for theatrical performance
    • This scene acts well
  8. verb have an effect or outcome; often the one desired or expected
    work; act.
    • The voting process doesn't work as well as people thought
    • How does your idea work in practice?
    • This method doesn't work
    • The breaks of my new car act quickly
    • The medicine works only if you take it with a lot of water
  9. verb be engaged in an activity, often for no particular purpose other than pleasure
  10. verb behave unnaturally or affectedly
    pretend; dissemble; act.
    • She's just acting
  11. verb perform on a stage or theater
    play; playact; roleplay; act.
    • She acts in this play
    • He acted in `Julius Caesar'
    • I played in `A Christmas Carol'
  12. adjective satellite serving temporarily especially as a substitute
    • the acting president

Act"ing adjective
  1. Operating in any way.
  2. Doing duty for another; officiating; as, an superintendent.

Webster 1913