There are 2 main translations of act in Spanish:

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American English: /ækt/
British English: /akt/

intransitive verb

  • 1 1.1 (take action, do something) I'm acting on behalf of my client
    actúo en representación de mi cliente
    we must act now
    tenemos que tomar medidas inmediatamente
    Example sentences
    • This body must act now to urge our fellow legislators in the United States Senate to alleviate this crisis.
    • In the wake of Silent Spring all industrialised societies acted to reduce pollution.
    • We must act before we are punished for moving too slowly.
    1.2 (function, work)
    hacer efecto
    it will take a while to act
    tardará un rato en hacer efecto
    Example sentences
    • Police believe their presence also acts as a deterrent against other crimes.
    • Jody acts as a foster mum and he had to hand feed the four every three hours for the first four days.
    • The forum is also looking for volunteers to act as rangers along the trail.
    Example sentences
    • Thus, the competition between monovalent and divalent cations acts only on the DNA sites and does not act on the mica sites.
    • Drug use was pandemic at these shows because drugs act to trigger the transformation into the private self.
    • The scientists further found that the crumpled ball displayed a phenomenon known as hysteresis, in which the effect of forces acting upon an object lags behind its cause.
    1.3 (serve) See examples:to act as something
    servir de algo
    this will act as a warning
    esto servirá de advertencia
    she will act as interpreter
    hará de intérprete
    Example sentences
    • According to the new regulations, a representative who acts on behalf of visa-seekers must be authorised and could be an immigration consultant with good standing in the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants.
    • It is about time the party stopped its pretence of acting on behalf of all the people when the only people it represents are the well off, big business and the privileged.
    • The first stages of a High Court hearing will be heard later this month involving a Dublin law firm acting on behalf of up to 12 individual clients.
    also: acting present participle
  • 2 (behave)
    they acted irresponsibly
    actuaron or se comportaron de forma irresponsable
    just act as if nothing had happened
    haz como si no hubiera pasado nada
    sorry, I acted like a fool stop acting like a child!
    ¡no seas infantil!
    she always acts very polite toward us [colloquial]
    siempre es muy cortés con nosotros
    Example sentences
    • It seems to me like women have to grin and bear a lot, and still feel pressure to act like saintly selfless birth goddesses.
    • Their main function is to act like an annoying salesperson who wouldn't take no for an answer.
    • In order to acclimate him to the wild, Dolittle must teach him the ways of nature and how to act like a real bear.
  • 3 3.1 (perform)
    (as profession)
    ser actor/actriz
    she's always wanted to act
    siempre ha querido ser actriz
    3.2 (pretend) See examples: he acted all nonchalant [colloquial]
    hizo como si no le importara
    don't act innocent/dumb with me!
    ¡no te hagas el inocente/tonto conmigo!
    Example sentences
    • He is still afraid of accepting film roles, despite having acted in more than 300 films over the past 29 years.
    • He has also acted in a prominent role in a Telugu film.
    • Boorman, son of the director John Boorman, had acted in 24 films since a childhood role in Deliverance in 1972.

transitive verb

  • 1.1 (perform)
    the play was very well acted
    la obra estuvo muy bien interpretada or actuada
    1.2 (behave like, play role of)
    it's no use acting the innocent
    es inútil que te hagas el inocente
    Example sentences
    • She'd planned to act dumb and pretend she'd never known he was there.
    • So the suspicion remains that his main desire is merely to appear to be acting tough - whether or not what he suggests will make any difference.
    • He acted shocked then pretended to weep.


  • 1 (deed) it was a foolish/brave act
    fue una locura/un acto de valentía
    an act of aggression
    una agresión
    an act of treason
    una traición
    the government's latest act was to free the prisoners
    la última acción del gobierno fue liberar a los prisioneros
    destroying the animal was an act of kindness
    sacrificar al animal fue un acto piadoso
    these acts of violence will not go unpunished
    estos actos de violencia no quedarán impunes
    my first act was to …
    lo primero que hice fue …
    by an act of God (Law)
    por caso fortuito
    por acto de la naturaleza
    the Acts of the Apostles
    los Hechos de los Apóstoles
    I was just in the act of writing to you
    precisamente te estaba escribiendo
    to catch somebody in the act
    agarrar or (especially Spain) coger a alguien con las manos en la masa
    sorprender a alguien in fraganti
    Example sentences
    • The bombings were the act of criminal extremists.
    • Witnesses to the act of criminal genius called police who, so far, have only charged the man with theft.
    • Transgression of this boundary was the act of a criminal and a heroic nature.
  • 2 (law) an act of Parliament/Congress
    una ley aprobada por el Parlamento/Congreso
    to pass an act
    aprobar una ley
  • 3 3.1 (division of play) a one-act play
    una obra de teatro de un solo acto
    a play in three acts
    3.2 (routine) a comedy/juggling act
    un número cómico/de malabarismo
    it's time for the government to change its act
    ya es hora de que el gobierno cambie su enfoque
    to be a hard o difficult act to follow
    ser difícil de igualar
    to do a disappearing o vanishing act
    esfumarse como por arte de magia
    to get into o in on the act
    meterse en el asunto
    to get one's act together
    hacer las cosas como Dios manda
    to smarten up one's act
    Example sentences
    • In the end, I decided to join in with everyone else and dance - it's hard to keep up the sulky act ALL night.
    • The kitchen where Willie did his Jamie Oliver act makes the one he'll have to share at college look in need of a visit from environmental health.
    • I've brought home a stack of proofs to read this weekend, so started on them on the train home, but did my worryingly regular falling asleep act not long outside London.
    Example sentences
    • The play's careful and logical division into five acts (which would have been marked by Intervals in indoor performance) would support this view.
    • With a top ticket price of $110, you had better give me more than a one-act ballet stretched into two acts.
    • Giselle a ballet in two acts begins at 7.30 pm on Friday, April 1, at The Sands Centre, Carlisle.

Phrasal verbs

act for

verb + preposition + object

act on

verb + preposition + object
1.1 (follow)
until the problem is recognized and acted on …
hasta que se reconozca el problema y se actúe or se proceda en consecuencia …
acting on information received, the police made two arrests
actuando sobre la base de información recibida, la policía realizó dos arrestos
she took a decision, but failed to act on it
tomó una decisión pero no obró en consecuencia
1.2 (affect)
actuar sobre
the drug acts on the nervous system
el fármaco actúa sobre el sistema nervioso

act out

verb + object + adverb, verb + adverb + object
she acted out what she had seen
nos hizo una demostración de lo que había visto
the drama was acted out before our eyes
la tragedia ocurrió or se desarrolló ante nuestros propios ojos

act up

verb + adverb
(cause trouble) [colloquial]
dar guerra [colloquial]
my back's been acting up again
la espalda me ha estado fastidiando otra vez [colloquial]

act upon

act on

Definition of act in:

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There are 2 main translations of act in Spanish:

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  • American College Test

Cultural Note: ACT - American College Test

Una prueba que los estudiantes de la mayoría de los estados que forman Estados Unidos deben aprobar para ser admitidos en la universidad. Normalmente tiene lugar al final de la high school y cubre un número de materias principales, p.ej. inglés y matemáticas.

Definition of act in:

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