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action Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun something done (usually as opposed to something said)
    • there were stories of murders and other unnatural actions
  2. noun the state of being active
    activeness; activity.
    • his sphere of activity
    • he is out of action
  3. noun a military engagement
    military action.
    • he saw action in Korea
  4. noun a process existing in or produced by nature (rather than by the intent of human beings)
    natural process; natural action; activity.
    • the action of natural forces
    • volcanic activity
  5. noun the series of events that form a plot
    • his novels always have a lot of action
  6. noun the trait of being active and energetic and forceful
    • a man of action
  7. noun the operating part that transmits power to a mechanism
    action mechanism.
    • the piano had a very stiff action
  8. noun a judicial proceeding brought by one party against another; one party prosecutes another for a wrong done or for protection of a right or for prevention of a wrong
    action at law; legal action.
  9. noun an act by a government body or supranational organization
    • recent federal action undermined the segregationist position
    • the United Nations must have the power to propose and organize action without being hobbled by irrelevant issues
    • the Union action of emancipating Southern slaves
  10. noun the most important or interesting work or activity in a specific area or field
    • the action is no longer in technology stocks but in municipal bonds
    • gawkers always try to get as close to the action as possible
  11. verb institute legal proceedings against; file a suit against
    process; sue; litigate.
    • He was warned that the district attorney would process him
    • She actioned the company for discrimination
  12. verb put in effect
    fulfil; execute; accomplish; carry out; carry through; fulfill.
    • carry out a task
    • execute the decision of the people
    • He actioned the operation

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. Syn. -- Action, Act. In many cases action and act are synonymous; but some distinction is observable. Action involves the mode or process of acting, and is usually viewed as occupying some time in doing. Act has more reference to the effect, or the operation as complete.
    To poke the fire is an act, to reconcile friends who have quarreled is a praiseworthy action. C. J. Smith.

Webster 1913

"Rowling never met an adverb she didn't like."

-Stephen King on J.K Rowling's excessive use of adverbs.

Fear not the Adverb Hell!

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