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English definition of “action”

action

noun uk   /ˈæk.ʃən/ us  

action noun (DOING SOMETHING)

B2 [U] the process of doing something, especially when dealing with a problem or difficulty: This problem calls for swift/prompt action from the government. [+ to infinitive] Action to prevent the spread of the disease is high on the government's agenda. We must take action (= do something) to deal with the problem before it spreads to other areas. So what's the plan of action? (= What are we going to do?) The complaints system swings into action (= starts to work) as soon as a claim is made. The committee was spurred into action (= encouraged to do something) by the threat of government cuts.

action noun (SOMETHING DONE)

B2 [C] something that you do: She has to accept the consequences of her actions. I asked him to explain his actions. C2 [C] a physical movement: I'll say the words and you can mime the actions. It only needs a small wrist action (= movement of the wrist) to start the process.

action noun (ACTIVITY)

B1 [U] things that are happening, especially exciting or important things: I like films with a lot of action. In her last novel, the action (= the main events) moves between Greece and southern Spain. where the action is at the place where something important or interesting is happening: A journalist has to be where the action is.

action noun (EFFECT)

[S] the effect something has on another thing: They recorded the action of the drug on the nervous system.

action noun (WAR)

C2 [U] fighting in a war: Her younger son was killed in action. He was reported missing in action. He saw action (= fought as a soldier) in the trenches.

action noun (WAY THING WORKS)

C2 [U or C] the way something moves or works: We studied the action of the digestive system. The car has a very smooth braking action.

action noun (LEGAL PROCESS)

C1 [C or U] specialized law a legal process that is decided in a law court: a libel action She brought an action (for negligence) against the hospital. A criminal action was brought against him. The book was halted in South Africa by a threat of legal action.

action

verb [T usually passive] uk   /ˈæk.ʃən/ us  
to do something to deal with a particular problem or matter: I'll just run through the minutes of the last meeting, raising those points that still have to be actioned.
(Definition of action from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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