act1 W1S1 [ækt] n
4 get your act together
8 a hard/tough etc act to follow
9 get in on the act
10 act of God
11 act of worship
12 balancing/juggling act
[Date: 1300-1400; : Latin; Origin: actus 'doing, act' and actum 'thing done, record', from the past participle of agere 'to drive, do']
1.) ¦(ACTION)¦
one thing that you do
The new president's first act should be to end the war.
a thoughtless act
act of (doing) sth
an act of violence
Her many acts of kindness have given me great comfort.
The act of writing a list can help to calm you down.
in the act of doing sth
(=at the moment that you are doing something)
Lindsay paused in the act of putting down the phone.
2.) ¦(LAW)¦ also Act
a law that has been officially accepted by Parliament or Congress
the Housing and Community Development Act of 1977
an act of Parliament
3.) ¦(PRETENDING)¦ [singular]
insincere behaviour in which you pretend to have a particular kind of feeling or to be a particular kind of person
Mike played the loving husband in front of the children but it was all an act.
Be natural. Don't feel you have to put on an act .
4.) get your act together informal
to become more organized and behave in a more effective way, especially in order to achieve something
You need to get your act together if you're going to find the right house to buy.
5.) ¦(PLAY)¦
one of the main parts into which a stage play, ↑opera etc is divided
I arrived at the theatre late and missed the first act.
the beginning of Act 3
a short performance on stage or television by someone who plays music or tells jokes
The argument was just part of their act.
a performer or a group of performers who perform together
The band is one of many acts that have been booked for the concert.
8.) a hard/tough etc act to follow
someone who does such an excellent job that it would be difficult for someone doing the same job after them to be as good
He has been a very successful captain and will be a hard act to follow.
9.) get in on the act informal
to take part in an activity that someone else has started, especially in order to get a share of the advantages for yourself
10.) act of God
an event that is caused by natural forces, such as a storm, flood, or fire, which you cannot prevent or control
11.) act of worship
an occasion when people pray together and show their respect for God
12.) balancing/juggling act
a situation in which you are trying to do several different types of work at the same time
catch sb in the act atcatch1 (3)
clean up your act at clean up(3)
act 2
act2 W1S2 v
1¦(do something)¦
5¦(have an effect)¦
6 act for somebody/act on somebody's behalf
Phrasal verbs
 act as something
 act on/upon something
 act something<=>out
 act up
to do something in a particular way or for a particular reason
The company acted correctly in sacking him.
The jury decided that Walker had acted in self-defence.
act to do sth
The UN must act now to restore democracy.
Politicians will only act when enough people demand that they do something.
2.) ¦(BEHAVE)¦ [I always + adverb/preposition]
to behave in a particular way
They acted unreasonably when they turned down Jill's application.
He's been acting strangely ever since his Mom died.
act as if
Pip acted as if he was better than everyone else.
act like
Stop acting like a baby.
act with
She acted with dignity.
act your age
(=used to tell someone to behave in a more adult way, suitable for someone of their age)
3.) ¦(PRETEND)¦ [I and T]
to pretend to have feelings, qualities etc that are different from your true ones
When he's angry, he acts the fool.
That guy is acting crazy.
act a part/role
Stella felt unnatural in their company, as if she was acting a part.
act as if/like
Why does he act as if he was stupid?
4.) ¦(PLAY/FILM)¦ [I and T]
to perform in a play or film
I first started acting when I was 12 years old.
act a part/role
She is acting the role of Lady Macbeth six evenings a week.
The movie is very well acted.
5.) ¦(HAVE AN EFFECT)¦ [I]
to have an effect or use
act as
The padding acts as a cushion if the player falls or is hit by the ball.
act on
Disinfectants act on bacteria in two main ways.
6.) act for sb/act on sb's behalf
to represent someone, especially in a court of law or by doing business for them
Makin, a solicitor, is acting for the young people in their case against the county council.
I am acting on behalf of the bank.
act as [act as sth] [i]phr v
to do a particular job for a short time, for example while the usual person is absent
My brother speaks French - he can act as interpreter.
act on/upon [act on/upon sth] phr v
to do something because of another person's advice or order, or because you have received information or had an idea
She is acting on the advice of her lawyers.
Police say they acted on information received.
act out [act sth<=>out] phr v
1.) if a group of people act out an event, they show how it happened by pretending to be the people who were involved in it
The children were acting out the story of the birth of Jesus.
2.) to express your feelings about something through your behaviour or actions, especially when you have been feeling angry or nervous
These teenagers are likely to act out their distress by running away.
act up phr v
1.) if children act up, they behave badly
He's a tough kid and he acts up a lot.
2.) if a machine or part of your body acts up, it does not work properly
The computer is acting up again.

Dictionary of contemporary English. 2013.


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