• WordNet 3.6
    • v action put in effect "carry out a task","execute the decision of the people","He actioned the operation"
    • v action institute legal proceedings against; file a suit against "He was warned that the district attorney would process him","She actioned the company for discrimination"
    • n action something done (usually as opposed to something said) "there were stories of murders and other unnatural actions"
    • n action the most important or interesting work or activity in a specific area or field "the action is no longer in technology stocks but in municipal bonds","gawkers always try to get as close to the action as possible"
    • n action a military engagement "he saw action in Korea"
    • n action 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
    • n action an act by a government body or supranational organization "recent federal action undermined the segregationist position","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"
    • n action the operating part that transmits power to a mechanism "the piano had a very stiff action"
    • n action the trait of being active and energetic and forceful "a man of action"
    • n action the series of events that form a plot "his novels always have a lot of action"
    • n action a process existing in or produced by nature (rather than by the intent of human beings) "the action of natural forces","volcanic activity"
    • n action the state of being active "his sphere of activity","he is out of action"
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

Action of Condenser Action of Condenser
Focussing Action of Lens Focussing Action of Lens
Harpsichord action Harpsichord action
31. Clavichord action 31. Clavichord action
A sailing canoe in action A sailing canoe in action

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: During World War II, bakers in the United States were ordered to stop selling sliced bread for the duration of the war on January 18, 1943. Only whole loaves were made available to the public. It was never explained how this action helped the war effort.
    • Action A process or condition of acting or moving, as opposed to rest; the doing of something; exertion of power or force, as when one body acts on another; the effect of power exerted on one body by another; agency; activity; operation; as, the action of heat; a man of action. "One wise in council, one in action brave."
    • Action (Law) A right of action; as, the law gives an action for every claim.
    • Action (Com) A share in the capital stock of a joint-stock company, or in the public funds; hence, in the plural, equivalent to stocks. "The Euripus of funds and actions ."
    • Action (Law) A suit or process, by which a demand is made of a right in a court of justice; in a broad sense, a judicial proceeding for the enforcement or protection of a right, the redress or prevention of a wrong, or the punishment of a public offense.
    • Action An act; a thing done; a deed; an enterprise. pl: Habitual deeds; hence, conduct; behavior; demeanor. "The Lord is a Good of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed."
    • Action An engagement between troops in war, whether on land or water; a battle; a fight; as, a general action, a partial action .
    • Action (Physiol) Any one of the active processes going on in an organism; the performance of a function; as, the action of the heart, the muscles, or the gastric juice.
    • Action (Mech) Effective motion; also, mechanism; as, the breech action of a gun.
    • Action (Orat) Gesticulation; the external deportment of the speaker, or the suiting of his attitude, voice, gestures, and countenance, to the subject, or to the feelings.
    • Action Movement; as, the horse has a spirited action .
    • Action (Paint. & Sculp) The attitude or position of the several parts of the body as expressive of the sentiment or passion depicted.
    • Action The event or connected series of events, either real or imaginary, forming the subject of a play, poem, or other composition; the unfolding of the drama of events.
    • Action (Music) The mechanical contrivance by means of which the impulse of the player's finger is transmitted to the strings of a pianoforte or to the valve of an organ pipe.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: Ever wonder how Swiss cheese is made? As the cheese ferments, a bacterial action generates gas. As the gas is liberated, it bubbles through the cheese, leaving all those holes.
    • n action The process or state of acting or of being active, as opposed to rest; change of which the cause lies within the subject; activity; active exertion; energy manifested in outward acts, as contrasted with contemplation, speculation, speaking, or writing: as, a man of action.
    • n action An event considered as predicated of its cause; an act, usually in a complex or an inclusive sense; that which is done about or in relation to anything; a specific performance, proceeding, or course of conduct: as, a good or a bad action; actions speak louder than words; the action of a deliberative body.
    • n action An exertion of power or force; the real relation of a cause to its effect; causality; influence; agency; operation; impulse: as, the action of wind upon a ship's sails.
    • n action Manner of moving; kind of motion or physical performance: as, this horse has fine action; the action of a machine.
    • n action In rhetoric, gesture or gesticulation; the deportment of the speaker, or the accommodation of his attitude, voice, gestures, and countenance to the subject, or to the thoughts and feelings expressed.
    • n action In poetry and the drama, the connected series of events on which the interest of the piece depends; the main subject or story, as distinguished from an incidental action or episode. Unity of action is one of the dramatic unities.
    • n action In physiology: Any one of the active processes going on in an organized body; some manifestation of vital activity; the performance of a function: as, the action of the stomach or the gastric juice on the food; a morbid action of the liver.
    • n action A more or less complex muscular effort. It may be voluntary, as the contractions of the voluntary muscles in response to the will; involuntary, as those of the heart; mixed, as those of respiration, deglutition, etc.; or reflex, as most involuntary actions, and also those performed by voluntary muscles under the influence of stimuli without involving conscious volition.
    • n action In law: A proceeding instituted in court by one or more parties against another or others to enforce a right, or punish or redress a wrong: distinguished from judicial proceedings which are not controversial in form, as the probate of a will.
    • n action Such a proceeding under the forms of the common law, as distinguished from a chancery suit and a criminal prosecution. But since the mėrger of law and equity, the remedy formerly had by suit in chancery is had by an equitable action. In the wider sense an action is civil or criminal: it is criminal when instituted by the sovereign for the punishment of a crime (see criminal); civil when instituted by the sovereign power in its capacity as an owner or contracting party, or by a subject or citizen. A criminal action is frequently spoken of as an indictment, which, however, is only one kind of formal complaint by which such a proceeding may be commenced or presented for trial. A common-law action is real, personal, or mixed: real when it claims title to real estate; personal when it demands a chattel, a debt, damages for an injury, or a statutory penalty; and mixed when it demands both real estate and damages for a wrong. Actions are in personam or in rem: in personam when the party defendant is a natural person or a corporation; in rem when it is a thing the ownership of which it is sought to change or affect, as when it is sought to make damages for a collision at sea a lien on the guilty ship, or to confiscate smuggled property. Actions where, the defendant being out of the reach of the court, a judgment against him will bind only his property previously attached, and actions merely to determine the status of the parties, as for divorce, are also sometimes properly called actions in rem; for the property attached and the status, respectively, are in one sense the subjects of the action, and it is their presence which enables the court to exercise its jurisdiction as against persons absent. See also in personam, in rem.
    • n action The right of bringing an action: as, the law gives an action for every claim.
    • n action In the fine arts: The appearance of animation, movement, or passion given to figures by their attitude, position, or expression, either singly or concurrently.
    • n action The event or episode represented or illustrated by a work of art.
    • n action A military fight; a minor engagement between armed bodies of men, whether on land or water: of less importance than a battle. See battle.
    • n action In machinery: The mechanism of a breech-loading gun by which it is opened to receive the charge.
    • n action That part of the mechanism of a pianoforte, an organ, or other similar instrument by which the action of the fingers upon the keys is transmitted to the strings, reeds, etc. In a harp the action is a mechanism, controlled by pedals, by which the key is changed by a half or whole step.
    • n action A share in the capital stock of a company; in the plural, stocks, or shares of stock.
    • n action In firearms, when the locks are bedded into the stock alone. E. H. Knight.
    • action To bring a legal action against.
    • n action In mech., the sum of the average momenta of the elements of a moving system, each multiplied by the distance through which it moves.
    • n action In dynamo-electric machines, wasteful internal circuits in the pole-pieces or cores; eddy, parasitic, or Foucault currents.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: More than 20,000 men were killed, wounded, or missing in action in the battle of Antietam, September 17, 1862. This was the bloodiest one-day fight during the Civil War.
    • n Action ak′shun a state of acting: activity in the abstract: a deed: operation: gesture: a battle: a lawsuit, or proceedings in a court: the movement of events in a drama, novel, &c
    • ***


  • Charles Francis Adams
    Charles Francis Adams
    “In this country men seem to live for action as long as they can and sink into apathy when they retire.”
  • Loius A. Allen
    Loius A. Allen
    “The greatest potential for control tends to exist at the point where action takes place.”
  • Henri Frederic Amiel
    “Action is coarsened thought; thought becomes concrete, obscure, and unconscious.”
  • Henri Frederic Amiel
    “Action and faith enslave thought, both of them in order not be troubled or inconvenienced by reflection, criticism, and doubt.”
  • Henri Frederic Amiel
    “For purposes of action nothing is more useful than narrowness of thought combined with energy of will.”
  • Jean Anouilh
    “Effective action is always unjust.”


Actions speak louder than words - This idiom means that what people actually do is more important than what they say- people can promise things but then fail to deliver.


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OF. action, L. actio, fr. agere, to do. See Act


In literature:

No action of the war was so discreditable to the Americans as this.
"The Naval History of the United States" by Willis J. Abbot
"The Will to Believe" by William James
It must be posted where the commander believes it will be needed for decisive action, or where he desires to bring about such action.
"Manual of Military Training" by James A. Moss
These actions will not turn out to your credit!
"Famous Privateersmen and Adventurers of the Sea" by Charles H. L. Johnston
This joyful news was communicated to the squadron, and every ship was instantly cleared for action.
"Memoirs and Correspondence of Admiral Lord de Saumarez. Vol II" by Sir John Ross
The action consists in the baffling of action.
"William Shakespeare" by John Masefield
But more important probably than even its mechanical action is the chemical action of lime.
"Manures and the principles of manuring" by Charles Morton Aikman
The most important of these is the action of the Supreme Court in annulling unconstitutional laws.
"Lectures on the French Revolution" by John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton
For first, no increase of heat arises from this action of vomiting; which always occurs, when the secerning system is stimulated into action.
"Zoonomia, Vol. II" by Erasmus Darwin
Each component part will indicate both the action and the physical objectives of the action.
"Sound Military Decision" by U.s. Naval War College

In poetry:

But adroit conjunction
Eloquently shall
Link to his lyric action
A periodic goal.
"Verbal Calisthenics" by Sylvia Plath
When all feeling is gone
and all counsel fails,
then faith becomes action –
a goal fills its sails.
"The Will" by Eberhard Arnold
Holy wine is good indeed--
But they concoct fireweed
Into galvanizing action
With exceeding satisfaction.
"Tonopah And Clergy " by Norman MacLeod
"Wherever outraged Nature
Asks word or action brave,
Wherever struggles labor,
Wherever groans a slave,—
"The Hero" by John Greenleaf Whittier
No thought, or word, or action
To lead to better life;
No balm to heal deep anguish;
No anodyne for strife;
"The Future" by Jared Barhite
But 'twas a friendly action, for
Good PYTHIAS, as you see,
Fought merely as executor,
And DAMON as trustee.
"Damon vs. Pythias" by William Schwenck Gilbert

In news:

As you play, the omniscient narrator comments on your actions and offers context for what's happening on-screen, changing his dialogue depending on your actions.
The quick actions of a Lehigh Acres sheriff's deputy helped to save the life of a Lehigh Acres woman and for that action, he was recognized for his efforts and given a plaque by the Greater Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce.
Bob Dylan's "Early Roman Kings" Debuts In Trailer For Cinemax Action (No, Not That Type Of Action) Show.
Agencies no longer should list regulatory actions that are either long-term or have not seen any action in years when compiling their spring 2012 Unified Regulatory Agendas.
Action-packed Energy Drink Ad "Survive" Wins Best Action/Drama.
Cutting-edge Online Campaign – 'My Gulf Action' – Allows Everyone to Take Direct Action to Offset Gulf Oil Spill.
Class-action settlement, prisoners, protective order dispute Disbursements from a $100 million class action are stayed pending resolution of a protective order dispute.
A trial court must take the same steps in a civil action as it does in a criminal action regarding the use of an interpreter in order to address due process concerns, the Indiana Court of Appeals held for the first time Tuesday.
SACRAMENTO RIVER side--The Rio Vista area had a little better salmon action this past week, and the Rio Vista Derby winner weighed 23.3 pounds and the action was better up by Freeport.
OS X's Folder Actions let you attach AppleScripts to specific folders so actions are performed automatically as soon as you add items to the folders .
A couple weeks ago, the NCAA lowered the boom on Happy Valley for its actions, or lack of actions, concerning former assistant Jerry Sandusky.
Steve "Doc Morgan" Kwiecien of San Antonio touches off a shot with his Model 97 pump-action shotgun to knock down a steel plate at an Alamo Area Moderators Cowboy Action event.
The court said the arrestee's actions in resisting arrest at least contributed to his injuries, so the officer's actions in handcuffing him could not be "the" proximate cause, which is.
Action Rod Lott Can Steven Soderbergh do a martial arts-fueled action thriller.
Impatience at the slow pace of euro zone crisis action is bubbling over, with the European Central Bank's pledge to save the single currency yet to be backed up by action.

In science:

Geometrically, this complex is gotten by cutting the unit sphere in V by the hyperplanes H , as in Section A.6. (As explained there, one might have to first pass to a quotient of V .) The action of W on V induces an action of W on Σ, and this action is simply-transitive on the chambers.
Semigroups, rings, and Markov chains
If an invariant action ˜A2 [H ] = hP h exists, the invariance w.r.t. a implies these auxiliary fields do not enter action at all and the action depends only on the invariants of a-transformations.
Point particle in general background fields and generalized equivalence principle
Remark 2.4 This proof does not work for the action of Ln+1(q) on the ndimensional pro jective space if n ≥ 2, because there is a second action of the same degree, namely the action on the set of all hyperplanes in (Fq )n+1 .
Finite simple groups and localization
Such a S 1 action can be extended to a C∗ action and then cover the C∗ action of CP1 in the twistor space T ∗A × CP1 .
Higgs Bundles and Four Manifolds
Using 6.8, 6.9, we see that via this isomorphism the action of N on T ϑ corresponds to the action of the obvious semidirect product of W and Y /′Y on t/′Y (with Y /′Y normal) where the action of W is the obvious one and the action of Y /′Y is by translation.
Classification of unipotent representations of simple p-adic groups,II