1. A process or condition
of acting or moving, as opposed to rest; the doing of something; exertion
of strength or force, as when one body
acts on other; the effect
of strength exerted on one body
by other; agency; activity; operation; as, the action
of heat; a man
of action. "One clever in council, one in action
2. 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." (1 Sam. Ii. 3)
3. The event or connected series
of events, either real
or imaginary, forming the subject of a play, poem, or another composition; the unfolding of the drama of events.
4. Movement; as, the horse
has a spirited action.
5. Effective motion; also, mechanism; as, the breech action of a gun.
6. 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.
7. Gesticulation; the outside deportment of the speaker, or the suiting of his attitude, voice, gestures, and countenance, to the subject, or to the feelings.
8. The attitude or position of the different parts of the body as expressive of the sentiment or passion depicted.
9. 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 incorrect, or the punishment of a popular offense. A right of action; as, the law gives an action for each claim.
10. A share in the capital stock of a joint-stock firm, or in the popular funds; hence, in the plural, equivalent to stocks. "The Euripus of funds and actions." (Burke)
11. An engagement between troops in war, whether on earth or water; a battle; a fight; as, a common action, a partial action.
12. 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 tube. Chose in action the product of the mass of a body by the space it runs through, and its velocity.
Synonym: Action, act.
In much cases action and act are synonymous; but some distinction is observable. Action involves the mode or process of acting, and is generally viewed as occupying some time in doing. Act has more reference to the effect, or the operation as complete. "To poke the fire is an act, to reconcile friends who have quarreled is a praiseworthy action." (C. J. Smith)
Origin: OF. Action, L. Actio, fr. Agere to do. See Act.
Source: Websters Vocabulary