Definition of action in English:

action

Syllabification: ac·tion
Pronunciation: /ˈakSH(ə)n
 
/

noun

1The fact or process of doing something, typically to achieve an aim: he vowed to take tougher action against persistent offenders if there is a breach of regulations, we will take action
More example sentences
  • I know that some have argued that we should take action to achieve a very much smaller population.
  • She said emissions to air, waste management and water eutrophication required urgent action.
  • Elections are the paramount means for influencing governmental action.
Synonyms
measures, steps, activity, movement, work, operation
1.1The way in which something such as a chemical has an effect or influence: the seeds require the catalytic action of water to release hotness
More example sentences
  • Syrup alone may act as a demulcent and provide antitussive action without side effects.
  • Problems included unspecified dosages, unclear information about drug action, and side effects of drugs.
  • When all the finish is removed, apply a neutralizer to stop the chemical action.
Synonyms
effect, influence, working;
power
1.2Armed conflict: servicemen listed as missing in action during the war
More example sentences
  • A former soldier who was in the thick of the action during the War told how he had met his match - in York.
  • He saw early action in North Africa, where he was awarded a Military Cross and bar.
  • Most National Guard and Reservists sign up thinking they'll never see action, let alone deployment overseas.
Synonyms
1.3A military engagement: a rearguard action
More example sentences
  • In Africa there have been unilateral military actions by states to overthrow despotic governments in neighbouring states.
  • However, other soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines die in combat actions, too.
  • One was to engage in guerilla actions and wear the enemy down.
1.4The events represented in a story or play: the action is set in the country
More example sentences
  • The action of the story divides between this rural backdrop and Helsinki, to which Eeva eventually flees.
  • Yes the story and action is horrific at times but Ray and Kathy put in such excellent performances.
  • Time. Used to define the limits of the story and around which action is organized.
1.5 informal Exciting or notable activity: the nonstop action of mountain biking people in the media want to be where the action is
More example sentences
  • On some days it was difficult for visitors to know which way to look because there was just so much exciting wildlife action going on around them.
  • Things got off to a slow start but by mid afternoon there was non stop action.
  • At one level, the movie is about science fiction, kung fu, firearms and non-stop action.
Synonyms
informal goings-on
1.6 informal Betting.
More example sentences
  • Neil at GfB makes no mention of any betting action on the Czech-Greece game.
  • Anyway, Kusnet gives you the pre-show betting line if you want to follow the action.
1.7 [as exclamation] Used by a movie director as a command to begin: lights, camera, action!
More example sentences
  • Once he has his quarry in his sights, it's ready, aim, fire, lights, camera, action for this freedom-loving documentarian.
  • Jayson pointed the camera, Eric called ‘Action’ and Chris ran with an expression of terror on his face.
  • I had to make a living and I wanted to get behind a camera and shout ‘action’.
2A thing done; an act: she frequently questioned his actions I would not be responsible for my actions if I saw him
More example sentences
  • The wider issue is the question of the state's behaviour and whether its actions were responsible.
  • It's all well and good to perform these actions in response to the alarm clock if that's what happens every day.
  • The scene requires viewers to question the actions and reactions of characters in a highly complex situation.
Synonyms
deed, act, move, undertaking, exploit, maneuver, endeavor, effort, exertion;
behavior, conduct, activity
2.1A legal process; a lawsuit: an action for damages
More example sentences
  • Judicial Watch has filed 92 lawsuits and legal actions against government officials.
  • As with other questions in this chapter it also covers a number of the judicial actions in the Community legal order.
  • Would the law of New Zealand that takes away rights of common law actions for personal injuries and puts people on some kind of pension scheme apply?
Synonyms
2.2A gesture or movement: his actions emphasized his words
More example sentences
  • The darkness of winter slows the city's heartbeat, making our every action or movement an effort.
  • His movements contradicted the others' actions, his steps were graceful and quiet like that of a doe.
  • No words, just clean efficient movement and actions.
3A manner or style of doing something, typically the way in which a mechanism works or a person moves: a high paddle action in canoeing the weapon has speed and smooth action
More example sentences
  • The tray slides along the rails in a very smooth action, and is held in place with four thumbscrews.
  • One of the things that gives the gun such a smooth action is the fact that the action bar and magazine tube move together.
  • The heart's pumping action pushes the blood around the body through the arteries.
3.1The mechanism that makes a machine or instrument work: a piano with an escapement action
More example sentences
  • His actions are machined from pre heat-treated 4140 bar stock using all carbide tooling.
  • He moved the slide action back and forth, checking that the movement was smooth enough to meet his satisfaction.
  • Most bolt actions will fit the cartridge without bolt modification and bullets up to .35 caliber can be fitted into some variation of the case.

Origin

late Middle English: via Old French from Latin actio(n-), from agere 'do, act'.

Phrases

go into action

Start work or activity.
More example sentences
  • We talked for a while then moved into the living room and I went into action.
  • Elliot went into action after local radio station Z - 99 announced the contest, which awarded a pair of seats to the show to the collector of the most grasshoppers in two days.
  • What they're all referring to is the fact one American serviceman made a complaint in January this year, and the Pentagon's investigative machinery went into action.

in action

Engaged in a certain activity; in operation.
More example sentences
  • So it was a relief to finally see him back in action again last night and he happily reported no after effects.
  • No games were played during the summer, when the county teams were in action.
  • Perhaps the single most important factor, however, is seeing it in action first.

out of action

Temporarily unable to engage in a certain activity; not working: a heart attack put him out of action the ship was out of action for 16 days
More example sentences
  • Malt attacked from the restart and, with Cooke temporarily out of action, Will Barber booted a penalty.
  • Traffic lights were temporarily out of action, although there were no reports of accidents.
  • Her problems were made worse by the fact that the lift was temporarily out of action.

put into action

Put into effect; carry out.
More example sentences
  • Richards said an up-do-date traffic survey needs to be carried out before any plans are put into action.
  • The effective dissolution of the group, which has been observing a ceasefire since 1996, may be announced in a few weeks, though it could take six months to put into action.
  • ‘We're alarmed that what was threatened was put into action,’ Mr Dale said.

Definition of action in:

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