Act


Act
Act Act ([a^]kt), n. [L. actus, fr. agere to drive, do: cf. F. acte. See {Agent}.] 1. That which is done or doing; the exercise of power, or the effect, of which power exerted is the cause; a performance; a deed. [1913 Webster]

That best portion of a good man's life, His little, nameless, unremembered acts Of kindness and of love. --Wordsworth. [1913 Webster] Hence, in specific uses: (a) The result of public deliberation; the decision or determination of a legislative body, council, court of justice, etc.; a decree, edit, law, judgment, resolve, award; as, an act of Parliament, or of Congress. (b) A formal solemn writing, expressing that something has been done. --Abbott. (c) A performance of part of a play; one of the principal divisions of a play or dramatic work in which a certain definite part of the action is completed. (d) A thesis maintained in public, in some English universities, by a candidate for a degree, or to show the proficiency of a student. [1913 Webster]

2. A state of reality or real existence as opposed to a possibility or possible existence. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]

The seeds of plants are not at first in act, but in possibility, what they afterward grow to be. --Hooker. [1913 Webster]

3. Process of doing; action. In act, in the very doing; on the point of (doing). ``In act to shoot.'' --Dryden. [1913 Webster]

This woman was taken . . . in the very act. --John viii. 4. [1913 Webster]

{Act of attainder}. (Law) See {Attainder}.

{Act of bankruptcy} (Law), an act of a debtor which renders him liable to be adjudged a bankrupt.

{Act of faith}. (Ch. Hist.) See {Auto-da-F['e]}.

{Act of God} (Law), an inevitable accident; such extraordinary interruption of the usual course of events as is not to be looked for in advance, and against which ordinary prudence could not guard.

{Act of grace}, an expression often used to designate an act declaring pardon or amnesty to numerous offenders, as at the beginning of a new reign.

{Act of indemnity}, a statute passed for the protection of those who have committed some illegal act subjecting them to penalties. --Abbott.

{Act in pais}, a thing done out of court (anciently, in the country), and not a matter of record. [1913 Webster]

Syn: See {Action}. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

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