WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2019
ac•tion /ˈækʃən/USA pronunciation   n. 
  1. [uncountable] the process or state of acting or functioning;
    the state of being active:We saw the team in action.
  2. something done or performed;
    deed:[countable]His heroic actions on the battlefield.
  3. energetic, decisive activity:[uncountable]a man of action.
  4. effect or influence:[uncountable]the action of morphine on pain.
  5. [uncountable] the mechanism by which something is operated, as that of a gun or a piano.
  6. Military[uncountable] military combat:saw action in the war.
  7. Literature the story line of a literary or dramatic work:[countable;  usually singular]The movie's action takes place in Mexico.
  8. Lawlegal proceeding instituted by one party against another: [countable]instituted an action against the thief.[uncountable]to bring action against a felon.
  9. Slang Terms[uncountable]
    • interesting or exciting activity:to go where the action is.
  1. Idioms piece of the action, Informal. a share in financial gain:The investor wanted to get a piece of the action.

See -act-.
WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2019
ac•tion  (akshən),USA pronunciation n. 
  1. the process or state of acting or of being active:The machine is not in action now.
  2. something done or performed;
  3. an act that one consciously wills and that may be characterized by physical or mental activity:a crisis that demands action instead of debate; hoping for constructive action by the landlord.
  4. actions, habitual or usual acts;
    conduct:He is responsible for his actions.
  5. energetic activity:a man of action.
  6. an exertion of power or force:the action of wind upon a ship's sails.
  7. effect or influence:the action of morphine.
  8. [Physiol.]a change in organs, tissues, or cells leading to performance of a function, as in muscular contraction.
  9. way or manner of moving:the action of a machine or of a horse.
  10. the mechanism by which something is operated, as that of a gun or a piano.
  11. Militarya military encounter or engagement;
    battle, skirmish, or the like.
  12. Militaryactual engagement in fighting an enemy;
    military or naval combat:He saw action in Vietnam.
  13. Literaturethe main subject or story, as distinguished from an incidental episode.
  14. [Theater.]
    • Show Businessan event or series of events that form part of a dramatic plot:the action of a scene.
    • one of the three unities. Cf. unity (def. 8).
  15. Show Businessthe gestures or deportment of an actor or speaker.
  16. Fine Artthe appearance of animation, movement, or emotion given to figures by their attitude, position, or expression.
  17. Law
    • a proceeding instituted by one party against another.
    • the right of bringing it.
  18. Slang Terms
    • interesting or exciting activity, often of an illicit nature:He gave us some tips on where the action was.
    • gambling or the excitement of gambling:The casino usually offers plenty of action.
    • money bet in gambling, esp. illegally.
  19. [Eccles.]
    • a religious ceremony, esp. a Eucharistic service.
    • the canon of the Mass.
    • those parts of a service of worship in which the congregation participates.
  20. in action: 
    • performing or taking part in a characteristic act:The school baseball team is in action tonight.
    • working;
      functioning:His rescuing the child was bravery in action.
  21. out of action, removed from action, as by sudden disability:The star halfback is out of action with a bad knee.
  22. piece of the action, [Informal.]a share of the proceeds or profits:Cut me in for a piece of the action.
  23. take action: 
    • to start doing something:As soon as we get his decision, we'll take action.
    • to start a legal procedure.

  1. characterized by brisk or dynamic action:an action car; an action melodrama.
action•less, adj. 
  • Latin
  • Anglo-French
  • Latin āctiōn- (stem of āctiō), equivalent. to āct(us) (past participle; see act) + -iōn- -ion; replacing Middle English accioun
  • 1300–50
    • 1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged movement, operation.
    • 2.See corresponding entry in Unabridged Action, act, deed mean something done.
      Action applies esp. to the doing,
      act to the result of the doing. An
      action usually lasts through some time and consists of more than one act:to take action on a petition.An
      act is single:an act of kindness.Deed emphasizes the finished or completed quality of an act;
      it may imply an act of some note, good or bad:an irrevocable deed; a deed of daring.
    • 4.See corresponding entry in Unabridged behavior.
    • 12.See corresponding entry in Unabridged brush, encounter, fight, skirmish. See  battle. 
    • 15.See corresponding entry in Unabridged plot.
    • 1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged rest, inactivity.

ACTION  (akshən),USA pronunciation n. [U.S. Govt.]
  1. Governmentan independent agency created in 1971 to administer domestic volunteer programs.
  • named by analogy with the acronymic names of other agencies, but itself not an acronym

Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

action /ˈækʃən/ n
  1. the state or process of doing something or being active; operation
  2. something done, such as an act or deed
  3. movement or posture during some physical activity
  4. activity, force, or energy: a man of action
  5. (usually plural) conduct or behaviour
  6. a legal proceeding brought by one party against another, seeking redress of a wrong or recovery of what is due; lawsuit
  7. the operating mechanism, esp in a piano, gun, watch, etc
  8. the force applied to a body
  9. the way in which something operates or works
  10. out of actionnot functioning
  11. the events that form the plot of a story, film, play, or other composition
  12. a minor engagement
  13. fighting at sea or on land: he saw action in the war
  14. Brit
    short for industrial action
  15. informal the profits of an enterprise or transaction (esp in the phrase a piece of the action)
  16. slang the main activity, esp social activity
vb (transitive)
  1. to put into effect; take action concerning
  1. a command given by a film director to indicate that filming is to begin
Etymology: 14th Century: accioun, ultimately from Latin āctiōn-, stem of āctiō, from agere to do, act

'action' also found in these entries:
Collocations: (we will) action your [request], (swift) [military, legal] action, an action [movie, scene, man], more...

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