Quantity of action
Action Ac"tion, n. [OF. action, L. actio, fr. agere to do. See {Act}.] 1. 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. [1913 Webster]

One wise in council, one in action brave. --Pope. [1913 Webster]

2. An act; a thing done; a deed; an enterprise. (pl.): Habitual deeds; hence, conduct; behavior; demeanor. [1913 Webster]

The Lord is a Good of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. --1 Sam. ii. 3. [1913 Webster]

3. 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. [1913 Webster]

4. Movement; as, the horse has a spirited action. [1913 Webster]

5. (Mech.) Effective motion; also, mechanism; as, the breech action of a gun. [1913 Webster]

6. (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. [1913 Webster]

7. (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. [1913 Webster]

8. (Paint. & Sculp.) The attitude or position of the several parts of the body as expressive of the sentiment or passion depicted. [1913 Webster]

9. (Law) (a) 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. (b) A right of action; as, the law gives an action for every claim. [1913 Webster]

10. (Com.) A share in the capital stock of a joint-stock company, or in the public funds; hence, in the plural, equivalent to stocks. [A Gallicism] [Obs.] [1913 Webster]

The Euripus of funds and actions. --Burke. [1913 Webster]

11. An engagement between troops in war, whether on land or water; a battle; a fight; as, a general action, a partial action. [1913 Webster]

12. (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. --Grove. [1913 Webster]

{Chose in action}. (Law) See {Chose}.

{Quantity of action} (Physics), the product of the mass of a body by the space it runs through, and its velocity. [1913 Webster]

Syn: {Action}, {Act}.

Usage: In many cases action and act are synonymous; but some distinction is observable. Action involves the mode or process of acting, and is usually 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. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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