action: Meaning and Definition of


Pronunciation: (ak'shun), [key]
— n.
  1. the process or state of acting or of being active: The machine is not in action now.
  2. something done or performed; act; deed.
  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. 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. 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. a military encounter or engagement; battle, skirmish, or the like.
  12. actual engagement in fighting an enemy; military or naval combat: He saw action in Vietnam.
  13. the main subject or story, as distinguished from an incidental episode.
  14. the action of a scene.
    1. an event or series of events that form part of a dramatic plot:the action of a scene.
    2. one of the three unities. Cf. unity (def. 8).
  15. the gestures or deportment of an actor or speaker.
  16. the appearance of animation, movement, or emotion given to figures by their attitude, position, or expression.
    1. a proceeding instituted by one party against another.
    2. the right of bringing it.
  17. He gave us some tips on where the action was.
    1. interesting or exciting activity, often of an illicit nature:He gave us some tips on where the action was.
    2. gambling or the excitement of gambling:The casino usually offers plenty of action.
    3. money bet in gambling, esp. illegally.
    1. a religious ceremony, esp. a Eucharistic service.
    2. the canon of the Mass.
    3. those parts of a service of worship in which the congregation participates.
  18. The school baseball team is in action tonight.
    1. performing or taking part in a characteristic act:The school baseball team is in action tonight.
    2. working; functioning:His rescuing the child was bravery in action.
  19. removed from action, as by sudden disability: The star halfback is out of action with a bad knee.
  20. a share of the proceeds or profits: Cut me in for a piece of the action.
  21. As soon as we get his decision, we'll take action.
    1. to start doing something:As soon as we get his decision, we'll take action.
    2. to start a legal procedure.
  1. characterized by brisk or dynamic action: an action car; an action melodrama.


Pronunciation: (ak'shun), [key]
— n. U.S. Govt.
  1. an independent agency created in 1971 to administer domestic volunteer programs.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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