- 1 [uncountable] the process of doing something in order to make something happen or to deal with a situation The time has come for action if these beautiful animals are to survive. Firefighters took action immediately to stop the blaze from spreading. What is the best course of action under these circumstances? She began to explain her plan of action to the group. see also direct action, job action
- 2[countable] a thing that someone does Her quick action saved the child's life. Each of us must take responsibility for our own actions. legal process
- 3 [countable, uncountable] a legal process to stop a person or company from doing something, or to make them pay for a mistake, etc. An action is being brought against the magazine that published the article. He is considering taking legal action against the hospital. see also class action in war
- 4 [uncountable] fighting in a battle or war missing in action soldiers killed in action in story/play
- 5[uncountable] the events in a story, play, etc. The action takes place in France. exciting events
- 6[uncountable] exciting events I like movies with plenty of action. New York is where the action is. effect
- 7[uncountable] action of something (on something) the effect that one substance or chemical has on another the action of sunlight on the skin The action of the rushing water cleans the gully. of part of the body
- 8[uncountable, countable] (technology) the way a part of the body moves or functions a study of the action of the liver of machine
- 9 [singular] the mechanical parts of a piano, gun, clock, etc. or the way the parts move see also pump-action Idioms
what someone does
nounjump to other results
what a person actually does means more than what they say they will do
actions speak louder than words(saying)jump to other results
if someone or something is in action, they are doing the activity or work that is typical for them Just press the button to see your favorite character in action. I have yet to see all the players in action.
in actionjump to other results
if you put an idea or a plan into action, you start making it happen or work The new plan for traffic control is being put into action on an experimental basis.
into actionjump to other results
not able to work or be used because of injury or damage Jon will be out of action for weeks with a broken leg. The photocopier is out of action today.
out of actionjump to other results
(of a person, machine, etc.) to suddenly start working or doing something “Let's go!” he said, springing into action. The town springs into life (= becomes busy) during the carnival.
spring into action,spring into/to lifejump to other results
to start doing something quickly and with a lot of energy The ambulance crew swung into action to resuscitate the patient. The rescue operation swung into action immediately. to act in order to avoid danger or an unpleasant situation The pilot had to take evasive action to avoid a mid-air collision. to act in order to avoid danger or an unpleasant situation The pilot had to take evasive action to avoid a mid-air collision.
swing into actionjump to other results