• Action


    • IPA: /ˈæk.ʃən/
    • Rhymes: -ækʃən


    From Middle English accion, from Old French action, from Latin āctiō ("act of doing or making"), from āctus, perfect passive participle of agō ("do, act"), + action suffix -iō; see act.

    Full definition of action



    (plural actions)
    1. Something done so as to accomplish a purpose.
    2. A way of motion or functioning.Knead bread with a rocking action.
    3. A fast-paced activity.an action movie
    4. A mechanism; a moving part or assembly.a rifle action
    5. (music): The mechanism, that is the set of moving mechanical parts, of a keyboard instrument, like a piano, which transfers the motion of the key to the sound-making device.Marshall Cavendish Corporation Growing Up with Science p.1079
    6. (slang) sexual intercourse.She gave him some action.
    7. The distance separating the strings and the fretboard on the guitar.
    8. (military) Combat.He saw some action in the Korean War.
    9. (legal) A charge or other process in a law court (also called lawsuit and actio).
    10. (mathematics) A homomorphism from a group to a group of automorphisms.One of the earliest uses of groups, according to lore, was the study of the action of S_3 on the equilateral triangle.
    11. The event or connected series of events, either real or imaginary, forming the subject of a play, poem, or other composition; the unfolding of the drama of events.
    12. (art, painting and sculpture) The attitude or position of the several parts of the body as expressive of the sentiment or passion depicted.
    13. (business, obsolete, a Gallicism) A share in the capital stock of a joint-stock company, or in the public funds.
      • BurkeThe Euripus of funds and actions.

    Related terms

    Terms etymologically related to action (noun)


    1. Demanding or signifying the start of something, usually an act or scene of a theatric performance.The director yelled ‘Action!’ before the camera started rolling.


    1. (transitive, management) To act on a request etc, in order to put it into effect.
      • 2004, Ros Jay, Richard Templar, Fast Thinking Manager's Manual Chapter Fast thinking: project, ‘Here, give me the minutes of Monday’s meeting. I’ll action your points for you while you get on and sort out the open day.’
      • 2005, Fritz Liebreich, Britain's Navel and Political Reaction to the Illegal Immigration of Jews to Palestine, 1945-1948 Chapter The physical confrontation: interception and diversion policies in theory and practice, Violent reactions from the Jewish authorities were expected and difficulties of actioning the new guidelines were foreseen.
      • 2007, Great Britain: Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, Tax Credits: Getting it wrong? 5th report session 2006-2007 Chapter Case study: 11257, HMRC said that one reason they had not actioned her appeal was because she had said in her appeal form ‘I am appealing against the overpayment for childcare for 2003-04, 2004-05’, thus implying she was disputing her ‘overpayment’.
    2. (transitive, chiefly archaic) To initiate a legal action against someone.

    Usage notes

    The verb sense to action is rejected by some usage authorities.

    She Literally Exploded, page 3


    © Wiktionary