Definition of


  1. (noun, act) something done (usually as opposed to something said)
  2. (noun, act) the most important or interesting work or activity in a specific area or field
    gawkers always try to get as close to the action as possible
  3. (noun, act) a military engagement
  4. (noun, act) a judicial proceeding brought by one party against another; one party prosecutes another for a wrong done or for protection of a right or for prevention of a wrong
  5. (noun, act) an act by a government body or supranational organization
    the United Nations must have the power to propose and organize action without being hobbled by irrelevant issues
    the Union action of emancipating Southern slaves
  6. (noun, artifact) the operating part that transmits power to a mechanism
  7. (noun, attribute) the trait of being active and energetic and forceful
  8. (noun, communication) the series of events that form a plot
  9. (noun, process) a process existing in or produced by nature (rather than by the intent of human beings)
    volcanic activity
  10. (noun, state) the state of being active
    he is out of action
  11. (verb, creation) put in effect
    execute the decision of the people
    He actioned the operation
  12. (verb, social) institute legal proceedings against; file a suit against
    She actioned the company for discrimination

via WordNet, Princeton University

Antonyms of Action


Alternate forms of Action

Derivations: act, action, actionable

Hyponyms: absorption, accenting, accentuation, accomplishment, achievement, acidification, adiabatic process, aeration, agency, aggression, alienation, amphibious landing, antiredeposition, antitrust case, application, arrival, battle, beatification, behavior, behaviour, benignity, blockade, bruxism, busyness, capture, carrying into action, carrying out, cataphoresis, centrifugation, change, chemical action, chemical change, chemical process, choice, chromatography, civil action, civility, clotting, coagulation, complete, concretion, condensation, conflict, consultation, consummate, convection, counterclaim, course, course of action, criminal prosecution, curdling, curing, custody case, decay, defence, defense, defensive measure, demagnetisation, demagnetization, desorption, destabilisation, destabilization, dielectrolysis, diffusion, discharge, disintegration, dispatch, dissolution, distillation, distillment, do, drift, ecesis, ecological succession, economy, effervescence, electronic warfare, electrophoresis, emphasizing, employment, encirclement, engagement, eructation, eruption, establishment, ew, execution, expedite, extinction, extraction, extravasation, feedback, fetch, fight, filtration, firing mechanism, flocculation, flow, forbiddance, formation, fossilisation, fossilization, geologic process, geological process, get over, gunlock, hardening, hostility, hum, inactivation, inhibition, interaction, ion exchange, ionisation, ionization, ionophoresis, jump-start, jumpstart, kindness, leach, leaching, lis pendens, magnetic induction, magnetisation, magnetization, materialisation, materialization, movement, natural selection, nuclear reaction, opacification, operation, opposition, option, oscillation, overdrive, oxygenation, pair creation, pair formation, pair production, perform, performance, phase change, phase transition, physical change, piano action, pick, pickings, play, playing, police action, politeness, precession of the equinoxes, prohibition, prosecution, pump action, radiation, reference, release, res gestae, resistance, reverence, rigidification, rigidifying, run, saber rattling, sabre rattling, sally, saltation, saving, scattering, selection, sericulture, set, sink, slide action, soak, soakage, soaking, softening, solidification, solidifying, sorption, sortie, source, state change, stiffening, stimulation, stupefaction, succession, survival, survival of the fittest, swing, swordplay, synergism, synergy, taking, temperature change, test case, test suit, thing, transduction, transfusion, transgression, transpiration, vampirism, vitrification, war, warfare

Hypernyms: act, challenge, complete, deed, drive, effect, effectuate, finish, group action, human action, human activity, legal proceeding, mechanism, physical process, plot, proceeding, proceedings, process, set up, state, work

Origin of the word Action

  1. mid-14c., from O.Fr. action (12c.), from L. actionem (nom. actio), from pp. stem of agere "to do" (see act). Meaning "fighting" is from c.1600. As a film director's command, it is attested from 1923. Meaning "excitement" is recorded from 1968. Phrase actions speak louder than words is attested from 1845. Related: Actionable (1590s). more

via Online Etymology Dictionary, ©2001 Douglas Harper

Note: If you're looking to improve your vocabulary right now, we highly recommend Ultimate Vocabulary Software.

Word of the Moment


a dusty pink color