[syn: carry through, accomplish, execute, carry out, action, fulfill, fulfil]
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
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
(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
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.
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):
n 1: something done (usually as opposed to something said);
"there were stories of murders and other unnatural actions"
2: the state of being active; "his sphere of activity"; "he is
out of action" [syn: action, activity, activeness]
[ant: inaction, inactiveness, inactivity]
3: a military engagement; "he saw action in Korea" [syn:
military action, action]
4: 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, action, activity]
5: the series of events that form a plot; "his novels always
have a lot of action"
6: the trait of being active and energetic and forceful; "a man
7: the operating part that transmits power to a mechanism; "the
piano had a very stiff action" [syn: action, action
8: 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, action at law]
9: 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"
10: the most important or interesting work or activity in a
specific area or field; "the action is no longer in
technology stocks but in municipal bonds"; "gawkers always
try to get as close to the action as possible"
v 1: institute legal proceedings against; file a suit against;
"He was warned that the district attorney would process
him"; "She actioned the company for discrimination" [syn:
action, sue, litigate, process]
2: put in effect; "carry out a task"; "execute the decision of
the people"; "He actioned the operation" [syn: carry
through, accomplish, execute, carry out, action,
Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0:
341 Moby Thesaurus words for "action":
accomplished fact, accomplishment, achievement, act, acta, actions,
activeness, activism, activity, acts, ad hoc measure, address,
adventure, aerial combat, affectation, affray, agency, air,
amphibious operations, anagnorisis, angle, answer, architectonics,
architecture, argument, armored combat, artifice, atmosphere,
automatic control, award, background, ball, battle, battle royal,
bearing, behavior, behavior pattern, behavioral norm,
behavioral science, big time, blow, brush, bullfight, business,
carriage, cascade control, case, catastrophe, cause,
cause in court, characterization, clash, clash of arms, clockworks,
cockfight, color, combat, combined operations, complication,
comportment, condemnation, conduct, conflict, consideration,
continuity, contrivance, control action, countermove, coup,
course of action, culture pattern, custom, dealings, decision,
decree, deed, deliverance, demarche, demeanor, denouement,
deportment, design, determination, development, device, diagnosis,
dictum, direction, discharge, dodge, dogfight, doing, doings, doom,
drive train, driving, dry run, effect, effectiveness, effectuation,
effort, electronic control, embroilment, encounter, endeavor,
energy, engagement, enterprise, episode, exchange of blows,
execution, exercise, exertion, expedient, exploit, fable,
fait accompli, falling action, feat, feedback control, fight,
fighting, finding, fire fight, fluid operations, folkway, force,
fray, fulfillment, fun, fun and games, function, functioning,
funmaking, game, gear, gest, gestures, gimmick, go, goings-on,
good time, great fun, ground combat, guise, hand,
hand-to-hand combat, hand-to-hand fight, handiwork, handling,
high old time, high time, house-to-house combat, improvisation,
incident, influence, initiative, innards, job, judicial process,
jury-rig, jury-rigged expedient, last expedient, last resort,
last shift, laughs, lawsuit, legal action, legal case,
legal proceedings, legal process, legal remedy, line, litigation,
liveliness, local color, logistics, lovely time, machinery,
maintien, makeshift, management, maneuver, maneuvers, manipulation,
manner, manners, means, measure, mechanism, method, methodology,
methods, mien, militancy, military operations, minor operations,
mission, modus vivendi, mood, motif, motion, motions, move,
movement, movements, moves, mythos, naval combat,
observable behavior, occupation, operancy, operation, operations,
order, overseas operations, overt act, passage, passage of arms,
pattern, performance, performing, peripeteia, picnic, pis aller,
pitched battle, plan, play, pleasant time, plot, poise,
political activism, port, pose, posture, power, power train,
practice, praxis, precedent, presence, procedure, proceeding,
proceedings, process, production, prognosis, pronouncement,
prosecution, quarrel, reaction, recognition, remedy, res gestae,
resolution, resort, resource, responsibility, rising action,
robot control, ruling, rumble, running, running fight, scheme,
scramble, scrimmage, scuffle, secondary plot, sentence,
servo control, servomechanism, shake-up, shift, shoving match,
skirmish, slant, social science, solution, sortie, spirit, sport,
staff work, stand-up fight, steering, step, stir, stopgap, story,
stratagem, street fight, strength, stroke, stroke of policy,
structure, struggle, stunt, style, subject, subplot, suit,
suit at law, supervisory control, switch, tactic, tactics,
tauromachy, temporary expedient, thematic development, theme,
thing, thing done, tone, topic, tour de force, transaction, trick,
trump, tug-of-war, turn, tussle, twist, undertaking, verdict,
vigor, vim, vitality, war game, war plans, watchworks, way,
way of life, ways, wheels, wheels within wheels, work, working,
working hypothesis, working proposition, workings, works
Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856):
ACTION, PROHIBITORY, civil law. An action instituted to avoid a sale on
account of some Vice or defect in the thing sold which readers it either
absolutely useless, or its use so inconvenient and, imperfect, that it must
be, supposed the buyer would not have purchased it, had he known of the
vice. Civ. Code of Louis. art. 2496.
Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856):
ACTION, French com. law. Stock in a company, shares in a corporation.
Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856):
ACTION, in practice. Actio nihil aliud est, quam jus persequendi in judicio
quod sibi debetur. Just. Inst. Lib. 4, tit. 6; Vinnius, Com. Actions are
divided into criminal and civil. Bac. Abr. Actions, A.
2.-1. A criminal action is a prosecution in a court of justice in
the name of the government, against one or more individuals accused of a
crime. See 1 Chitly's Cr. Law.
3.-2. A civil action is a legal demand of one's right, or it is the
form given by law for the recovery of that which is due. Co. Litt. 285; 3
Bl. Com. 116; 9 Bouv. Inst. n. 2639; Domat. Supp. des Lois Civiles, liv. 4,
tit. 1, No. 1; Poth. Introd. generale aux Coutumes, 109; 1 Sell. Pr. Introd.
s. 4, p. 73. Ersk. Princ. of Scot. Law, B. 41 t. 1. Sec. 1. Till judgment
the writ is properly called an action, but not after, and therefore, a
release of all actions is regularly no bar of all execution. Co. Litt. 289
a; Roll. Ab. 291. They are real, personal and mixed. An action is real or
personal, according as realty or personalty is recovered; not according to
the nature of the defence. Willes' Rep. 134.
4.-1. Real actions are those brought for the specific recovery of
lands, tenements, or hereditaments. Steph. Pl. 3. They are either
procedural, when the demandant seeks to recover the property; or possessory
when he endeavors to obtain the possession. Finch's Law, 257, 8. See Bac.
Abr. Actions, A, contra. Real Actions are, 1st. Writs of right; 2dly, Writs
of entry, which lie in the per, the per et cui, or the post, upon disseisin,
intrusion, or alienation. 3dly. Writs ancestral possessory, as Mort d'
ancester, aid, vbesaiel[?], cosinage, or Nuper obiit. Com. Dig. Actions, D
2. By these actions formerly all disputes concerning real estate, were
decided; but now they are pretty generally laid aside in practice, upon
account of the great nicety required in their management, and the
inconvenient length of their process; a much more expeditious, method of
trying titles being since introduced by other actions, personal and mixed. 3
Bl. Com. 118. See Booth on Real Actions.
5.-2. Personal actions are those brought for the specific recovery of
goods and chattels; or for damages or other redress for breach of contract,
or other injuries, of whatever description; the specific recovery of lands,
tenements, and hereditaments only excepted. Steph. Pl. 3; Com. Dig. Actions,
D 3; 3 Bouv. Inst. n. 2641. Personal actions arise either upon contracts, or
for wrongs independently of contracts. The former are account, assumpsit,
covenant, debt, and detinue; see these words. In Connecticut and Vermont
there is, an action used which is peculiar to those states, called the
action of book debt. 2 Swift's Syst. Ch. 15. The actions for wrongs,
injuries, or torts, are trespass on the case, replevin, trespass, trover.
See these words, and see Actio personalis moritur cum persona.
6.-3. Mixed actions are such as appertain, in some degree, to both
the former classes, and, therefore, are properly reducible to neither of
them, being brought for the specific recovery of lands, tenements, or
hereditaments, and for damages for injury sustained in respect of such
property. Steph. Pl. 3; Co. Litt. 284, b; Com. Dig. Actions, D 4. Every
mixed action, properly so called, is also a real action. The action of
ejectment is a personal action, and formerly, a count for an assault and
battery might be joined with a count for the recovery of a term of Years in
7. Actions are also divided into those which are local and such as are
1. A local action is one in which the venue must still be laid in
the county, in which the cause of action actually arose. The locality of
actions is founded in some cases, on common law principles, in others on the
8. Of those which continue local, by the common law, are, 1st, all
actions in which the subject or thing to be recovered is in its nature
local. Of this class are real actions, actions of waste, when brought on
the statute of Gloucester, (6 Edw. I.) to recover with the damages, the
locus in quo or place wasted; and actions of ejectment. Bac. Abr. Actions
Local, &c. A, a; Com. Dig. Actions, N 1; 7 Co. 2 b; 2 Bl. Rep. 1070. All
these are local, because they are brought to recover the seisin or
possession of lands or tenements, which are local subjects.
9.-2dly. Various actions which do not seek the direct recovery of
lands or tenements, are also local, by the common law; because they arise
out of some local subject, or the violation of some local right or interest.
For example, the action of quare impedit is local, inasmuch as the benefice,
in the right of presentation to which the plaintiff complains of being
obstructed, is so. 7 Co. 3 a; 1 Chit. Pl. 271; Com. Dig. Actions, N 4.
Within this class of cases are also many actions in which only pecuniary
damages are recoverable. Such are the common law action of waste, and
trespass quare clausum fregit; as likewise trespass on the case for injuries
affecting things real, as for nuisances to houses or lands; disturbance of
rights of way or of common; obstruction or diversion of ancient water
courses, &c. 1 Chit. Pl. 271; Gould on Pl. ch. 3, Sec. 105, 106, 107. The
action of replevin, also, though it lies for damages only, and does not
arise out of the violation of any local right, is nevertheless local. 1
Saund. 347, n. 1. The reason of its locality appears to be the necessity of
giving a local description of the taking complained of. Gould on Pl. ch. 3,
Sec. 111. A scire facias upon a record, (which is an action, 2 Term Rep.
46,) although to some intents, a continuation of the original suit, 1 Term
Rep. 388, is also local.
10.-2. Personal actions which seek nothing more than the recovery of
money or personal chattels of any kind, are in most cases transitory,
whether they sound in tort or in contract; Com. Dig. Actions, N 12; 1 Chit.
Pl. 273; because actions of this class are, in most instances, founded on
the violation of rights which, in contemplation of law, have no locality. 1
Saund. 241, b, note 6. And it will be found true, as a general position,
that actions ex delicto, in which a mere personalty is recoverable, are, by
the common law, transitory; except when founded upon, or arising out of some
local subject. Gould on Pl. ch. 3, Sec. 112. The venue in a transitory
action may be laid in any county which the plaintiff may prefer. Bac. Abr.
Actions Local, &c. A. (a.)
11. In the civil law actions are divided into real, personal, and mixed.
A real action, according to the civil law, is that which he who is the owner
of a thing, or, has a right in it, has against him who is in possession of
it, to compel him to give up the plaintiff, or to permit him to enjoy the
right he has in it. It is a right which a person has in a thing, follows the
thing, and may be instituted against him who possesses it; and this whether
the thing be movable or immovable and, in the sense of the common law,
whether the thing be real or personal. See Domat, Supp. des Lois Civiles,
Liv. 4, tit. 1, n. 5; Pothier, Introd. Generales aux Coutumes 110; Ersk. Pr.
Scot. Law, B. 4, t. 1, Sec. 2.
12. A personal action is that which a creditor has against his debtor,
to compel him to fulfill his engagement. Pothier, lb. Personal actions are
divided into civil actions and criminal actions. The former are those which
are instituted to compel the payment or to do some other thing purely civil
the latter are those by which the plaintiff asks the reparation of a tort or
injury which he or those who belong to him have sustained. Sometimes these
two kinds of actions are united when they assume the name of mixed personal
actions. Domat, Supp. des Lois Civiles, Liv. 4, tit. 1, n. 4; 1 Brown's Civ.
13. Mixed actions participate both of personal and real actions. Such
are the actions of partition, and to compel the parties to put down
landmarks or boundaries. Domat, ubi supra.
Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856):
ACTION. Conduct, behaviour, something done. Nomen actionis latissime patere
vulgo notum est ac comprehenders omnem omnino viventis operationem quae
passioni opponitur. Vinnius, Com. lib. 4, tit. 6. De actionibus.
2. Human actions have been divided into necessary actions, or those over
which man has no control; and into free actions, or such as he can control
at his pleasure. As man is responsible only when he exerts his will, it is
clear lie can be punished only for the latter.
3. Actions are also divided into positives and negative the former is
called an act of commission the latter is the omission of something which
ought to be done, and is called an act of omission. A man may be responsible
as well for acts of omission, as for acts of commission.
4. Actions are voluntary and involuntary. The former are performed
freely and without constraint - the latter are performed not by choice,
against one's will or in a manner independent of the will. In general a man
is not responsible for his involuntary actions. Yet it has been ruled that
if a lunatic hurt a man, he shall be answerable in trespass, although, if he
kill a man, it is not felony. See Hob. Rep. 134; Popham, 162; Pam. N. P. 68.
See also Duress; Will.