Legal Dictionary


Legal Definition of act

  1. A bill which has passed through the various legislative steps required for it and which has become law

    Example: An Act of the Commonwealth of Australia

See also

Definition of act


    From Latin ācta ("register of events"), plural of āctum ("decree, law"), from agō ("put in motion").



act (countable and uncountable; plural acts)

  1. (countable) Something done, a deed.

    An act of good will.

  2. (obsolete, uncountable) A state of existence.
  3. (countable) A product of a legislative body, a statute.
  4. The process of doing something.

    He was caught in the act.

  5. (countable) A formal or official record of something done.
  6. (countable) A division of a theatrical performance.

    The pivotal moment in the play was in the first scene of the second act.

  7. (countable) A display of behavior.



  • (drama): scene


  • (drama): play

Derived terms

terms derived from act (noun)

  • act of attainder
  • act of faith
  • act of god/act of God
  • act of parliament
  • act of settlement
  • act of terrorism
  • act of war
  • caught in the act
  • The Acts of the Apostles

Related terms

terms related to act (noun)

  • action
  • agent
  • agency
  • active


to act (third-person singular simple present acts, present participle acting, simple past and past participle acted)

  1. (intransitive) To do something.

    If you don't act soon, you will be in trouble.

  2. (intransitive) To perform a theatrical role.

    I started acting at the age of eleven in my local theatre.

  3. (intransitive) To behave in a certain way.

    He's acting strangely - I think there's something wrong with him.

  4. (copulative) To convey an appearance of being.

    He acted unconcerned so the others wouldn't worry.

  5. (chemistry, intransitive) To have an effect on.

    High-pressure oxygen acts on the central nervous system and may cause convulsions or death.

  6. (transitive) To play (a role).

    He's been acting Shakespearean leads since he was twelve.

  7. (transitive) To feign.

    He acted the angry parent, but was secretly amused.

Derived terms

terms derived from act (verb)

  • act a fool
  • act like a bull in a china shop
  • act on
  • act out
  • act smart
  • act up
  • act upon
  • actor
  • actress
  • enact
  • interact
  • react
  • reactive

Related terms

terms related to act (verb)

  • action
  • active
  • activate
  • deactivate


  • Alphagram: act
  • ATC
  • cat, Cat, CAT
  • tac, TAC
  • TCA


  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

Translation of act in Malay



  1. akta


  1. perbuatan
  2. tindakan

process of doing

  1. lakon

division of theatrical performance

  1. babak

display of behaviour

  1. pura-pura


1.     lex fori
2.     landed property
3.     salacious
4.     lex situs
5.     lex causae
6.     violent crime
7.     conscionable
8.     family court
9.     leasing
10.     public liability