• IPA: /ˈæk.ʃən/


  1. Something done so as to accomplish a purpose.
  2. A way of motion or functioning.
    Knead bread with a rocking action.
  3. Fast-paced activity.
    a movie full of exciting action
  4. A mechanism; a moving part or assembly.
    a rifle action
  5. (music) The mechanism, that is the set of moving mechanical parts, of a keyboard instrument, like a piano, which transfers the motion of the key to the sound-making device.
  6. (music) The distance separating the strings and the fretboard on a guitar.
  7. (slang) Sexual intercourse.
    She gave him some action.
  8. (military) Combat.
    He saw some action in the Korean War.
  9. (legal) A charge or other process in a law court (also called lawsuit and actio).
  10. (mathematics) A mapping from a pairing of mathematical objects to one of them, respecting their individual structures. The pairing is typically a Cartesian product or a tensor product. The object that is not part of the output is said to act on the other object. In any given context, action is used as an abbreviation for a more fully named notion, like group action or left group action.
  11. (physics) The product of energy and time, especially the product of the Lagrangian and time.
  12. 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.
  13. (art, painting and sculpture) The attitude or position of the several parts of the body as expressive of the sentiment or passion depicted.
  14. (bowling) spin put on the bowling ball.
  15. (business, obsolete, a Gallicism) A share in the capital stock of a joint-stock company, or in the public funds.
    • the Euripus of funds and actions
Synonyms Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations
  • French: action en justice, action légale
  • German: Klage
  • Italian: azione legale
  • Portuguese: ação
  • Russian: иск
  • Spanish: acción
  1. Demanding or signifying the start of something, usually an act or scene of a theatric performance.
    The director yelled ‘Action!’ before the camera started rolling.
Translations Verb

action (actions, present participle actioning; past and past participle actioned)

  1. (transitive, management) To act on a request etc, in order to put it into effect.
  2. (transitive, chiefly, archaic) To initiate a legal action against someone.

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