(1)   Something done (usually as opposed to something said)
"There were stories of murders and other unnatural actions"
(2)   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"
(3)   A military engagement
"He saw action in Korea"
(4)   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
(5)   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"
(6)   The operating part that transmits power to a mechanism
"The piano had a very stiff action"
(7)   The trait of being active and energetic and forceful
"A man of action"
(8)   The series of events that form a plot
"His novels always have a lot of action"
(9)   A process existing in or produced by nature (rather than by the intent of human beings)
"The action of natural forces"
"Volcanic activity"
(10)   The state of being active
"His sphere of activity"
"He is out of action"


(11)   Put in effect
"Carry out a task"
"Execute the decision of the people"
"He actioned the operation"
(12)   Institute legal proceedings against; file a suit against
"He was warned that the district attorney would process him"
"She actioned the company for discrimination"


< < < < perfect passive participle < verb + action suffix ; see act.


  1. Something done so as to accomplish a purpose.
  2. A way of motion or functioning.
    Knead bread with a rocking action.
  3. A fast-paced activity.
    an action movie
  4. A mechanism; a moving part or assembly.
    a rifle action
  5. : The set of moving mechanical parts in a keyboard instrument which transfer the motion of the key to the sound-making device.
  6. sexual intercourse.
    She gave him some action.
  7. The distance separating the strings and the fretboard on the guitar.
  8. Combat.
    He saw some action in the Korean War.
  9. A charge or other process in a law court.

Related terms


  1. Demanding or signifying the start of something, usually an act or scene of a theatric performance.
    The director yelled ‘Action!’ before the camera started rolling.


  1. To act on a request etc, in order to put it into effect.


  1. Action, act.
  2. Campaign.
    une action promotionnelle
    a promotional campaign
  3. Stock, share.
    une action de capitalisation
    a capitalisation share