Pronunciation: (akt),[key] —n. 1. anything done, being done, or to be done; deed; performance: a heroic act. 2. the process of doing: caught in the act. 3. a formal decision, law, or the like, by a legislature, ruler, court, or other authority; decree or edict; statute; judgment, resolve, or award: an act of Congress. 4. an instrument or document stating something done or transacted.
5. one of the main divisions of a play or opera: the second act of Hamlet.
6. a short performance by one or more entertainers, usually part of a variety show or radio or television program.
7. the personnel of such a group: The act broke up after 30 years. 8. false show; pretense; feint: The politician's pious remarks were all an act. 9. Philos.(in scholasticism)
a. activity in process; operation.
b. the principle or power of operation.
c. form as determining essence.
d. a state of realization, as opposed to potentiality.
10. clean up one's act,Informal.to begin adhering to more acceptable practices, rules of behavior, etc.: The factory must clean up its act and treat its employees better. 11. get or have one's act together,Informal.to organize one's time, job, resources, etc., so as to function efficiently: The new administration is still getting its act together.
—v.i. 1. to do something; exert energy or force; be employed or operative: He acted promptly in the emergency. 2. to reach, make, or issue a decision on some matter: I am required to act before noon tomorrow. 3. to operate or function in a particular way; perform specific duties or functions: to act as manager. 4. to produce an effect; perform a function: The medicine failed to act. 5. to behave or conduct oneself in a particular fashion: to act well under all conditions. 6. to pretend; feign: Act interested even if you're bored. 7. to perform as an actor: He acted in three plays by Molière. 8. to be capable of being performed: His plays don't act well. 9. to serve or substitute (usually fol. by for): In my absence the assistant manager will act for me.
—v.t. 1. to represent (a fictitious or historical character) with one's person: to act Macbeth. 2. to feign; counterfeit: to act outraged virtue. 3. to behave as: He acted the fool. 4. Obs.to actuate.
5. act funny, to display eccentric or suspicious behavior.
6. act on or upon, a. to act in accordance with; follow: He acted on my advice. b. to have an effect on; affect: The stirring music acted on the emotions of the audience. 7. act one's age, to behave in a manner appropriate to one's maturity: We children enjoyed our uncle because he didn't always act his age. 8. act out, a. to demonstrate or illustrate by pantomime or by words and gestures: The party guests acted out stories for one another. b. Psychol.to give overt expression to (repressed emotions or impulses) without insightful understanding: The patients acted out early traumas by getting angry with the analyst. 9. act up, a. to fail to function properly; malfunction: The vacuum cleaner is acting up again. b. to behave willfully: The children always act up in school the day before a holiday. c. to become painful or troublesome, esp. after a period of improvement or remission: My arthritis is acting up again this morning.
1. American College Test.
2. Association of Classroom Teachers.
3. Australian Capital Territory.