Act of grace
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.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Act of grace — Grace Grace (gr[=a]s), n. [F. gr[^a]ce, L. gratia, from gratus beloved, dear, agreeable; perh. akin to Gr. ? to rejoice, cha ris favor, grace, Skr. hary to desire, and E. yearn. Cf. {Grateful}, {Gratis}.] 1. The exercise of love, kindness, mercy …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • act of grace — index amnesty, favor (act of kindness) Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • act of grace — ► act of grace a privilege or concession that cannot be claimed as a right. Main Entry: ↑act …   English terms dictionary

  • act of grace — an act extending clemency to offenders before the law (as one at the beginning of a new reign granting pardon or amnesty to numerous offenders) * * * act of grace noun A favour, esp a pardon granted by a sovereign • • • Main Entry: ↑act * * * a… …   Useful english dictionary

  • act of grace — The term is often used to designate a general act of parliament, originating with the crown, such as has often been passed at the commencement of a new reign, or the coming of age or marriage of a sovereign, or at the close of a period of civil… …   Black's law dictionary

  • act of grace — The term is often used to designate a general act of parliament, originating with the crown, such as has often been passed at the commencement of a new reign, or the coming of age or marriage of a sovereign, or at the close of a period of civil… …   Black's law dictionary

  • act of grace — kind act, act of charity, good deed …   English contemporary dictionary

  • act of grace — noun 1. an act of Parliament granting a general pardon. 2. payment by a government to a citizen with whom it is in dispute to avoid protracted litigation, although the government is not legally liable …   Australian English dictionary

  • act of grace — A grant of general pardon or amnesty by a new king or queen in honor of some important royal event. See grace …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • act of grace — a privilege or concession that cannot be claimed as a right. → act …   English new terms dictionary

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