action


action
act, action
1. The distinction between the two words in their general meanings is not always clear: we are judged by our acts or by our actions. In general, however, action has more of the notion of performance, and extends to inanimate things (we can speak only of the action, not of the act, of a machine), whereas act connotes more strongly the fact of something done and also implies responsibility rather more necessarily than action does (hence the Acts of the Apostles, not the Actions, which Fowler (1926) suggested as the logical preference). Action is also used attributively in expressions such as action committee, painting, replay, etc., whereas act is not. The actions of a person are usually viewed as occupying some time, and (in the plural) denote the habitual or ordinary deeds of a person, the sum of which make up his or her conduct. Act, by contrast, normally means something brought about rapidly or over a short period, especially in phrases with of (an act of God, an act of madness).
2. Both words have special meanings which are exclusive to each (an act of a play, an act in a variety show, military action, etc.), and in fixed expressions (to put on an act, caught in the act, to clean up one's act, to get one's act together, to take action, actions speak louder than words, where the action is, a piece of the action, etc.).
3. Action, in its modern use as a transitive verb meaning ‘to take action on (a decision or request, etc.)’ is best left to the evasive language of business managers

• (Dismissal will be actioned when the balance of probabilities suggests that an employee has committed a criminal act —Daily Telegraph, 1981).


Modern English usage. 2014.

Synonyms:

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  • action — ACTION. sub. f. L opération d un agent. L action du feu sur le bois. L action du Soleil sur les plantes. L action de l esprit. Le feu, par la violence de son action, vitrifie les métaux. Une action vive, soudaine, momentanée.Action, se dit aussi… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

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  • Action! — was a programming language and integrated editor, debugger, and 6502 code generating compiler, editor for the Atari 8 bit family of microcomputers. Action! was created by Clinton Parker and released on cartridge by Optimized Systems Software in… …   Wikipedia

  • Action — Ac tion, n. [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… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • action — et besongne, Pragma, Actio. Action et droit de poursuyvre en justice ce qui nous est deu, Actio. Action de grace, Gratulatio, Gratiarum actio. Action personnelle, Condictio, Actio in personam. Action réelle, Actio in rem. Action petitoire,… …   Thresor de la langue françoyse

  • Action 52-in-1 — Action 52 Action 52 Éditeur Active Enterprises Développeur FarSight Studios (MD) Active Enterprises …   Wikipédia en Français

  • action — 1 Action, act, deed agree in designating something done or effected. Action refers primarily to the process of acting; act and deed to the result, the thing done. An action is usually regarded as occupying some time and involving more than one… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • action — [ak′shən] n. [ME accion < OFr action < L actio < pp. of agere: see ACT1] 1. the doing of something; state of being in motion or of working 2. an act or thing done 3. [pl.] behavior; habitual conduct 4. habitual activity characterized by… …   English World dictionary