Hypertext Webster Gateway: "action"

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Action \Ac"tion\, n. [OF. action, L. actio, fr. agere to do. See
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.

One wise in council, one in action brave. --Pope.

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

The Lord is a Good of knowledge, and by him actions
are weighed. --1 Sam. ii.

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.

4. Movement; as, the horse has a spirited action.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.]

The Euripus of funds and actions. --Burke.

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

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.

{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.

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.

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Petitory \Pet"i*to*ry\, a. [L. petitorius, fr. petere, petitum,
to beg, ask: cf. F. p['e]titore.]
Petitioning; soliciting; supplicating. --Sir W. Hamilton.

{Petitory suit} or {action} (Admiralty Law), a suit in which
the mere title to property is litigated and sought to be
enforced, as distinguished from a possessory suit; also
(Scots Law), a suit wherein the plaintiff claims something
as due him by the defendant. --Burrill.

From WordNet (r) 1.7 (wn)

n 1: something done (usually as opposed to something said);
"there were stories of murders and other unnatural
2: the state of being active; "his sphere of activity"; "he is
out of action" [syn: {activity}, {activeness}] [ant: {inaction},
{inaction}, {inaction}]
3: a judicial proceeding brought by one party against another;
one party prosecutes another for a wrong done or for
protection of a right or for prevention of a wrong [syn: {legal
action}, {action at law}]
4: an act by a government body or supranational organization;
"recent federal action undermined the segregationist
position"; "the United Nations must have the power to
propose and organize action without being hobbled by
irrelevant issues"; "the Union action of emancipating
Southern slaves"
5: a military engagement; "he saw action in Korea" [syn: {military
6: a process existing in or produced by nature (rather than by
the intent of human beings); "the action of natural
forces"; "volcanic activity" [syn: {natural process}, {natural
action}, {activity}]
7: the series of events that form a plot; "his novels always
have a lot of action"
8: the operating part that transmits power to a mechanism; "the
piano had a very stiff action" [syn: {action mechanism}]
9: the trait of being active and energetic and forceful; "a man
of action"

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