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to act the innocent

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WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2016
-act-, root. 
  1. -act- comes from Latin, where it has the meaning "to do, move''. It is related to the root -ag-. This meaning is found in such words as: act, action, exact, inexact, transact.

act /ækt/USA pronunciation   n. [countable]
  1. anything done or to be done;
    deed:an act of mercy.
  2. the process of doing: caught in the act.
  3. Government[sometimes: Act] a formal decision, law, or the like; a decree or edict:an act of Congress.
  4. Show Businessone of the main divisions of a play or opera: a drama in three acts.
      • a short performance by one or more entertainers, usually part of a variety show, circus, etc.:an acrobatic act.
  5. a display of insincere behavior assumed for effect; pretense[usually singular]Her apology was all an act.

v. 
  1. [no object] to do something;
    carry out an action.
  2. to reach or issue a decision on some matter[no object; (~ + on + object)]Congress failed to act (on the tax bill).
  3. [no obj] to operate or function in a particular way:acted as manager.
  4. to produce an effect: The medicine failed to act.
  5. to conduct oneself in a particular fashion: [no object]acted foolishly.[+ object]to act one's age.
  6. [no obj] to pretend; feign:was just acting and wasn't really sorry.
  7. Show Businessto perform as an actor: [no object]has acted on Broadway.[+ object]to act Macbeth.
  8. act on or upon, [+ on/upon + object]
      • to act in accordance with; follow:will act on (upon) your wishes immediately.
      • to have an effect on;
        affect:The aspirin acted on the pain.
    act out,
      • [ + out + obj] to show or express by gestures or actions:He acted out his frustrations by throwing things.
      • to perform: [ + out + obj]:The students acted out the roles in the play.[ + obj + out]:to act the roles out.
    act up, [no object]
      • to fail to function properly:The car's transmission is acting up.
      • to behave willfully:The tired, cranky child acted up during the wedding.
      • (of a recurring ailment) to become troublesome:His rheumatism is acting up.
idiom
  1. Idiomsclean up one's act, to begin to behave in a more socially acceptable way.
  2. Idiomsget or have one's act together, to behave or function responsibly and efficiently.

  • Idioms in the act of, in the process of:was caught in the act of climbing out the window.
  • See -act-.
    WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2016
    act  (akt), 
    n. 
    1. anything done, being done, or to be done;
      deed;
      performance:a heroic act.
    2. the process of doing:caught in the act.
    3. Governmenta formal decision, law, or the like, by a legislature, ruler, court, or other authority; decree or edict;
      statute;
      judgment, resolve, or award:an act of Congress.
    4. an instrument or document stating something done or transacted.
    5. Show Businessone of the main divisions of a play or opera:the second act ofHamlet.
    6. Show Businessa short performance by one or more entertainers, usually part of a variety show or radio or television program.
    7. Show Businessthe personnel of such a group:The act broke up after 30 years.
    8. false show; pretense;
      feint:The politician's pious remarks were all an act.
    9. [Philos.](in scholasticism)
        • activity in process;
          operation.
        • the principle or power of operation.
        • form as determining essence.
        • a state of realization, as opposed to potentiality.
    10. clean up one's act, [Informal.]to begin adhering to more acceptable practices, rules of behavior, etc.:The factory must clean up its act and treat its employees better.
    11. get or have one's act together, [Informal.]to organize one's time, job, resources, etc., so as to function efficiently:The new administration is still getting its act together.

    v.i. 
    1. to do something; exert energy or force;
      be employed or operative:He acted promptly in the emergency.
    2. to reach, make, or issue a decision on some matter:I am required to act before noon tomorrow.
    3. to operate or function in a particular way; perform specific duties or functions:to act as manager.
    4. to produce an effect;
      perform a function:The medicine failed to act.
    5. to behave or conduct oneself in a particular fashion:to act well under all conditions.
    6. to pretend; feign:Act interested even if you're bored.
    7. Show Businessto perform as an actor:He acted in three plays by Molière.
    8. Show Businessto be capable of being performed:His plays don't act well.
    9. to serve or substitute (usually fol. by for):In my absence the assistant manager will act for me.

    v.t. 
    1. Show Businessto represent (a fictitious or historical character) with one's person:to act Macbeth.
    2. to feign; counterfeit:to act outraged virtue.
    3. to behave as:He acted the fool.
    4. [Obs.]to actuate.
    5. act funny, to display eccentric or suspicious behavior.
    6. act on or upon: 
        • to act in accordance with; follow:He acted on my advice.
        • to have an effect on;
          affect:The stirring music acted on the emotions of the audience.
    7. act one's age, to behave in a manner appropriate to one's maturity:We children enjoyed our uncle because he didn't always act his age.
    act out: 
      • to demonstrate or illustrate by pantomime or by words and gestures:The party guests acted out stories for one another.
      • [Psychol.]to give overt expression to (repressed emotions or impulses) without insightful understanding:The patients acted out early traumas by getting angry with the analyst.
    act up: 
      • to fail to function properly; malfunction:The vacuum cleaner is acting up again.
      • to behave willfully:The children always act up in school the day before a holiday.
      • to become painful or troublesome, esp. after a period of improvement or remission:My arthritis is acting up again this morning.
    Etymology:
    • Latin āctus a doing (āg- + -tus suffix of verb, verbal action)
    • Latin ācta, plural of āctum something done, noun, nominal use of past participle of agere to do (āg- past participle stem + -tum neuter past participle suffix); and directly
    • Middle French)
    • Middle English act(e) ( 1350–1400
    1 . feat, exploit;
    achievement;
    transaction;
    accomplishment. See action.  4 . record. 6 . turn, routine. 11 –15. perform, function, work. 17, 18 . play.

    ACT, 
  • American College Test.
  • EducationAssociation of Classroom Teachers.
  • Australian Capital Territory.

  • act. 
  • acting.
  • active.
  • actor.
  • actual.


  • Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

    act /ækt/ n
    1. something done or performed; a deed
    2. the performance of some physical or mental process; action
    3. (capital when part of a name) the formally codified result of deliberation by a legislative body; a law, edict, decree, statute, etc
    4. (often plural) a formal written record of transactions, proceedings, etc, as of a society, committee, or legislative body
    5. a major division of a dramatic work
    6. a short performance of skill, a comic sketch, dance, etc, esp one that is part of a programme of light entertainment
    7. those giving such a performance
    8. an assumed attitude or pose, esp one intended to impress
    vb
    1. (intransitive) to do something; carry out an action
    2. (intransitive) to function in a specified way; operate; react: his mind acted quickly
    3. to perform (a part or role) in a play, etc
    4. (transitive) to present (a play, etc) on stage
    5. (intr; usually followed by for or as) to be a substitute (for); function in place (of)
    6. (intransitive) followed by as: to serve the function or purpose (of)
    7. (intransitive) to conduct oneself or behave (as if one were): she usually acts like a lady
    8. (intransitive) to behave in an unnatural or affected way
    9. (copula) to pose as; play the part of: to act the fool
    10. (copula) to behave in a manner appropriate to (esp in the phrase act one's age)
    11. get in on the actinformal to become involved in a profitable undertaking or advantageous situation in order to share in the benefits
    12. get one's act togetherinformal to become organized or prepared

    See also act on, act upEtymology: 14th Century: from Latin actus a doing, performance, and actum a thing done, from the past participle of agere to do

    ˈactable adj ˌactaˈbility n



    ACT abbreviation for
    1. Australian Capital Territory
    2. (formerly in Britain) advance corporation tax
    ACT /ækt/ n acronym for
    1. (in New Zealand) Association of Consumers and Taxpayers: a small political party of the right



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