There are not many boys, or men, I think, that would have had the courage to act as you did.

He was bold enough to brave the consequences of this act, which he foresaw clearly.

On that which he fully believed, he must act, and what did he fully believe?

Within their own territory each one could act independently.

Their first act is to lower the duties on the importation of foreign cattle!

This act of justice has been unreasonably delayed in the case of some of them.

And let there be no misunderstanding—we are going to begin to act, beginning today.

To act up to our best judgments at the time, is all we can do.

When action is required to preserve our national security, we will act.

This act of aggression produced a storm of public indignation.


late 14c., "a thing done," from Old French acte "(official) document," and directly from Latin actus "a doing, a driving, impulse; a part in a play, act," and actum "a thing done," originally a legal term, both from agere "to do, set in motion, drive, urge, chase, stir up," from PIE root *ag- "to drive, draw out or forth, move" (cf. Greek agein "to lead, guide, drive, carry off," agon "assembly, contest in the games," agogos "leader;" Sanskrit ajati "drives," ajirah "moving, active;" Old Norse aka "to drive;" Middle Irish ag "battle").

Theatrical ("part of a play," 1510s) and legislative (early 15c.) senses of the word also were in Latin. Meaning "display of exaggerated behavior" is from 1928. In the act "in the process" is from 1590s, perhaps originally from the 16c. sense of the act as "sexual intercourse." Act of God "uncontrollable natural force" recorded by 1726.


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.