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Synonyms of act in English:


  • 1 the Government must act to remedy the situation
    take action, take steps, take measures, take the initiative, move, make a move, react, do something, proceed, go ahead;
    make progress, make headway, be active, be employed, be busy
    informal get moving
    [Antonyms] do nothing
  • 2 over dinner Alison began to act oddly
  • 3 the scents act as a powerful aphrodisiac
    operate, work, take effect, function, serve, be efficacious
  • 4 he acted in a highly successful film
    perform, play, play a part, take part, be an actor, be an actress, be one of the cast, appear
    informal tread the boards
  • 5 we laughed, but most of us were just acting
    pretend, play-act, sham, fake, feign, put it on, bluff, pose, posture, masquerade, dissemble, dissimulate
    informal kid
  • Phrases

    act for
    the estate agent was acting for a prospective buyer
    represent, act on behalf of, speak on behalf of;
    stand in for, fill in for, deputize for, cover for, substitute for, be a substitute for, replace, take the place of, act in place of, do/be a locum for, sit in for, understudy;
    hold the fort, step into the breach
    North American informal pinch-hit for
    act on/upon
  • 1 the drug acted directly on the blood vessels
    affect, have an effect on, influence, exert influence on, work on, have an impact on, impact on, alter, change, modify, transform, condition, control
    [Antonyms] have no effect on
  • 2 he was merely acting on the orders of the party leader
    comply with, act in accordance with, follow, go along with;
    obey, take heed of, heed, conform to, abide by, adhere to, stick to, stand by, uphold, fulfil, meet, discharge
    [Antonyms] flout
  • act up
  • 1 the pupils are past masters at acting up in class
    misbehave, give someone trouble, cause someone trouble, act badly, get up to mischief, get up to no good, be bad, be naughty, forget oneself, misconduct oneself;
    clown about/around, fool about/around, act the clown, act the fool, act the goat, act foolishly
    informal carry on, mess about/around
    British informal muck about/around, play up
  • 2 the computers are always acting up
    malfunction, crash, develop a fault, go wrong, break down, give out, stall, be defective, be faulty, fail, cease to function, cease to work, stop working
    informal conk out, go kaput, go phut, go on the blink, be on the blink
    British informal pack up, play up
  • noun

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  • 1 a life filled with acts of kindness a criminal act
  • 2 the Act raised the tax on tobacco
    law, decree, statute, bill, Act of Parliament, edict, fiat, dictum, dictate, enactment, resolution, ruling, rule, judgement, canon, ordinance, proclamation, command, commandment, mandate, measure, stipulation, direction, requirement;
    in Tsarist Russia ukase;
    in Spanish-speaking countries pronunciamento
  • 3 I have written one act of a play
  • 4 a marvellous music hall act
    performance, turn, routine, number, item, piece, sketch, skit, playlet, dance, song;
    show, production, presentation, entertainment
    informal gig
  • 5 my mother thinks crying is simply putting on an act
    pretence, false display, show, front, facade, masquerade, charade, guise, posture, pose, affectation, appearance;
    sham, fake, bluff, hoax;
    make-believe, play-acting, feigning, shamming, posturing, posing, counterfeit, subterfuge, dissimulation, dissemblance, fabrication, falsification
    informal a put-on, a put-up job
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