Ac"tion (?), n. [OF. action, L.
actio, fr. agere to do. See Act.] 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
One wise in council, one in action brave.
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
1 Sam. ii. 3.
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
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
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.
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. 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.