Meaning of REACTION in English


re ‧ ac ‧ tion S2 W2 AC /riˈækʃ ə n/ BrE AmE noun

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ act , ↑ action ≠ ↑ inaction , ↑ activity ≠ ↑ inactivity , ↑ reaction , ↑ interaction , ↑ overacting ; adjective : ↑ acting , ↑ active ≠ ↑ inactive ; verb : ↑ act ≠ ↑ overact ; adverb : ↑ actively ]

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ reaction , ↑ reactor , ↑ reactionary , ↑ overreaction ; verb : ↑ react , ↑ overreact ; adjective : ↑ reactionary , ↑ reactive ]

1 . TO A SITUATION/EVENT [uncountable and countable] something that you feel or do because of something that has happened or been said ⇨ response :

What was Jeff’s reaction when you told him about the job?

reaction to

the government’s reaction to the fuel crisis

in reaction to something

An emergency fund was set up in reaction to the famine.

2 . MOVING QUICKLY reactions [plural] your ability to move quickly when something dangerous happens suddenly:

a skilled driver with very quick reactions

3 . TO FOOD/DRUGS [countable] if you have a reaction to a drug or to something you have eaten, it makes you ill

reaction to

a reaction to the immunization

have/suffer a reaction

She had a severe allergic reaction to the drug.

cause/bring on/trigger a reaction

Certain foods are more likely than others to cause allergic reactions.

4 . SCIENCE [uncountable and countable]

a) a chemical change that happens when two or more substances are mixed together:

a chemical reaction in the soil

b) a physical force that is the result of an equally strong physical force in the opposite direction

5 . CHANGE [singular] a change in people’s attitudes, behaviour, fashions etc that happens because they disapprove of the way in which things were done in the past

reaction against

a reaction against the traditional values of the nineteenth century

6 . AGAINST CHANGE [uncountable] formal strong and unreasonable opposition to all social and political changes:

The revolutionary movement was crushed by the forces of reaction.

⇨ ↑ chain reaction

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 1)

■ ADJECTIVES/NOUN + reaction

▪ sb’s first/initial/immediate reaction

His first reaction was to laugh.

▪ sb’s gut reaction informal (=what they feel or decide immediately, before thinking)

You must trust your gut reactions.

▪ sb’s instinctive reaction (=what they do immediately, before thinking)

Often your instinctive reaction is to blame someone else.

▪ a natural reaction

Anger is a natural reaction if you feel undervalued.

▪ a knee-jerk reaction (=an immediate reaction that happens without sensible thinking)

Environmentalists have a knee-jerk reaction against any development.

▪ an emotional reaction (=showing strong emotion, especially by crying)

I was surprised by her emotional reaction to the news.

▪ a positive/favourable reaction (=showing that someone agrees or likes something)

There has been a positive reaction to the campaign.

▪ a negative reaction (=showing that someone disagrees or dislikes something)

We are concerned about the negative reaction of some of our customers.

▪ mixed reactions (=some positive and some negative reactions)

The book met with mixed reactions.

▪ a violent/angry reaction

The artists were surprised by the violent reactions to their work.

▪ a delayed reaction (=a reaction that comes some time after an event)

You’re suffering a delayed reaction to the accident.

▪ the public reaction (=what the public think about something that happens)

The public reaction was less than encouraging.

■ verbs

▪ provoke/produce/bring a reaction

The decision provoked an angry reaction from the local tourist industry.

▪ get a reaction

We didn’t know what kind of reaction we would get.

▪ gauge sb’s reaction (=judge or find out someone’s reaction)

He watched Jane’s face, trying to gauge her reaction.

▪ judging by sb’s reactions

Judging by the audience’s reactions, the show will be a great success.

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 3)

■ adjectives

▪ an allergic reaction

If you develop an allergic reaction to your sunscreen, change it.

▪ a bad reaction

She had a bad reaction to the medicine.

▪ an adverse reaction formal (=a bad reaction)

The patient died after having an adverse reaction to the drug.

▪ a severe reaction

A severe allergic reaction to the drug has killed five Americans.

▪ a slight/mild reaction

A spider’s venom usually causes only a slight reaction.

■ verbs

▪ have/suffer a reaction

People who eat these products could have an allergic reaction.

▪ cause/bring on/trigger a reaction (=make someone ill)

Wheat is one of the foods that are most likely to cause a reaction.

• • •


▪ reaction someone’s feelings, and how they behave, because of something that has happened or been said:

I was stunned by the news, and my initial reaction was anger.


What was her reaction, when you told her that you were leaving?

▪ response what you say or do when someone says or does something to you:

The government’s immediate response was to reject the proposal.


The decision was made in response to requests from local residents.


We are still waiting to see if there is any response.

▪ reception a particular type of reaction to someone’s ideas, work etc – used especially in the following phrases:

The plan received warm reception from conference delegates (=they liked it) .


The film received a mixed reception and commercially it was not successful (=many people did not like it) .


The Association of Chief Police Officers gave the idea a cool reception (=they did not like it very much) .


Alford’s views met with a hostile reception (=people were very disapproving) .

▪ feedback advice, criticism, praise etc that you give to someone, telling them how well they are working:

Our English teacher gave us some feedback on our essays.


The feedback we have had from our customers has all been positive.


negative feedback

▪ backlash an angry or violent reaction by a group of people to the actions or decisions of others:

There has been a growing backlash against the government from angry voters.


fears of a right-wing backlash

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.