Meaning of ACT in English

ACT

/ ækt; NAmE / noun , verb

■ noun

STH THAT SB DOES

1.

[ C ] a particular thing that sb does :

an act of kindness

acts of terrorism

The murder was the act of a psychopath.

a criminal act

➡ note at action

LAW

2.

[ C ] a law that has been passed by a parliament :

an Act of Congress

the Higher Education Act 2002

PRETENDING

3.

[ sing. ] a way of behaving that is not sincere but is intended to have a particular effect on others :

Don't take her seriously—it's all an act.

You could tell she was just putting on an act .

IN PLAY / ENTERTAINMENT

4.

[ C ] one of the main divisions of a play, an opera , etc. :

a play in five acts

The hero dies in Act 5, Scene 3.

5.

[ C ] one of several short pieces of entertainment in a show :

a circus / comedy / magic act

6.

[ C ] a performer or group of musicians :

They were one of rock's most impressive live acts.

IDIOMS

- act of God

- be / get in on the act

- do, perform, stage a disappearing / vanishing act

- get your act together

- a hard / tough act to follow

- in the act (of doing sth)

—more at clean verb , read verb

■ verb

DO STH

1.

[ v ] to do sth for a particular purpose or in order to deal with a situation :

It is vital that we act to stop the destruction of the rainforests.

The girl's life was saved because the doctors acted so promptly.

He claims he acted in self-defence.

BEHAVE

2.

[ v ] to behave in a particular way :

John's been acting very strangely lately.

Stop acting like spoilt children!

HELP NOTE : In spoken English people often use like instead of as if or as though in this meaning, especially in NAmE :

She was acting like she'd seen a ghost.

This is not considered correct in written BrE .

PRETEND

3.

to pretend by your behaviour to be a particular type of person :

[ v - n ]

He's been acting the devoted husband all day.

[ v - adj ]

I decided to act dumb.

PERFORM IN PLAY / MOVIE

4.

to perform a part in a play or film / movie :

[ v ]

Have you ever acted?

Most of the cast act well.

[ vn ]

Who's acting (= taking the part of) Hamlet?

The play was well acted.

PERFORM FUNCTION

5.

[ v ] act as / like sth to perform a particular role or function :

Can you act as interpreter?

hormones in the brain that act like natural painkillers

HAVE EFFECT

6.

[ v ] act (on sth) to have an effect on sth :

Alcohol acts quickly on the brain.

IDIOMS

see age noun , fool noun , own verb

PHRASAL VERBS

- act for / on behalf of sb

- act on / upon sth

- act sth out

- act up

••

WORD ORIGIN

late Middle English : from Latin actus event, thing done, act- done, from the verb agere , reinforced by the French noun acte .

Oxford Advanced Learner's English Dictionary.      Оксфордский английский словарь для изучающик язык на продвинутом уровне.