Dictionary: AC-TIN'E-A – ACT'U-A-RY

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AC-TIN'E-A, n.

An order of polypes. – Cuvier.


Action; act of performing a part of a play. – Shak. Churchill.

ACT'ING, ppr.

Doing; performing; behaving; representing the character of another.

AC-TIN'O-LITE, n. [Gr. ακτιν, a ray, and λιθος, a stone.]

A mineral called by Werner, strahlstein, ray-stone, nearly allied to hornblend. It occurs in prismatic crystals, which are long, and incomplete, and sometimes extremely minute and even fibrous. Its prevailing color is green of different shades, or shaded with yellow or brown. There are several varieties, as the common, the massive, the acicular, the glassy, and the fibrous. – Werner. Kirwan. Cleaveland. Actinolite is crystalized, asbestiform, and glassy. – Phillips.


Like or pertaining to actinolite.

AC-TIN-OM'E-TER, n. [Gr. ακτιν, a ray, and μετρον, measure.]

An instrument for measuring the intensity of solar radiation. – Daubeny.

AC'TION, n. [L. actio. See Act.]

  1. Literally, a driving; hence, the state of acting or moving; exertion of power or force, as when one body acts on another; or action is the effect of power exerted on one body by another; motion produced. Hence, action is opposed to rest. Action, when produced by one body on another, is mechanical; when produced by the will of a living being, spontaneous or voluntary. [See Def. 3.]
  2. An act or thing done; a deed. The Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him are actions weighed. 1 Sam. ii.
  3. In mechanics, agency; operation; driving impulse; effort of one body upon another; as, the action of wind upon a ship's sails: also the effect of such action.
  4. In ethics, the external signs or expression of the sentiments of a moral agent; conduct; behavior; demeanor; that is, motion or movement, with respect to a rule or propriety.
  5. In poetry, a series of events, called also the subject or fable: this is of two kinds; the principal action, which is more strictly the fable, and the incidental action or episode. – Encyc.
  6. In oratory, gesture or gesticulation; the external deportment of the speaker, or the accommodation of his attitude, voice, gestures, and countenance to the subject, or to the animal, and natural; vital and involuntary, as the action, or to the thoughts and feelings of the mind. – Encyc.
  7. In physiology, the motions or functions of the body, vital, animal, and natural; vital and involuntary, as the action of the heart and lungs; animal, as muscular, and all voluntary motions; natural, as manducation, deglutition, and digestion. – Encyc.
  8. In law, literally, an urging for right; a suit or process, by which a demand is made of a right; a claim made before a tribunal. Actions are real, personal, or mixed; real, or feudal, when the demandant claims a title to real estate; personal, when a man demands a debt, personal duty, or damage in lieu of it, or satisfaction for an injury to person or property; and mixed, when real estate is demanded, with damages for a wrong sustained. Actions are also civil or penal; civil, when instituted solely in behalf of private persons, to recover debts or damages; penal, when instituted to recover a penalty, imposed by way of punishment. The word is also used for a right of action; as, the law gives an action for every claim. – Blackstone. A chose in action, is a right to a thing, in opposition to the possession. A bond or note is a chose in action, [Fr. chose, a thing.] and gives the owner a right to prosecute his claim to the money, as he has an absolute property in a right, as with well as in a thing, in possession.
  9. In some countries of Europe, action is a share in the capital stock of a company, or in the public funds, equivalent to our term share; and consequently, in a more general sense, to stocks. The word is also used for movable effects.
  10. In painting and sculpture, the attitude or position of the several parts of the body, by which they seem to be actuated by passions; as, the arm extended, to represent the act of giving or receiving.
  11. Battle; fight; engagement between troops in war, whether on land or water, or by a greater or smaller number of combatants. This and the 8th definition exhibit the literal meaning of action – a driving or urging. Quantity of action, in physics, the product of the mass of a body by the space it runs through and its velocity. – Encyc. In many cases action and act are synonymous; but some distinction between them is observable. Action seems to have more relation to the power that acts, and its operation and process of acting; and act, more relation to the effect or operation complete. Action is also more generally used for ordinary transactions; and act, for such as are remarkable, or dignified; as, all our actions should he regulated by prudence; a prince is distinguished by acts of heroism or humanity. – Encyc. Action taking, in Shakspeare, is used for litigious.


That will bear a suit, or for which an action at law may be sustained; as, to call a man a thief is actionable.


In a manner that subjects to legal process.


In Europe, a proprietor of stock in a trading company; one who owns actions or shares of stock.

AC'TI-VATE, v.t.

To make active.

ACT'IVE, a. [L. activus; Fr. actif.]

  1. That has the power or quality of acting; that contains the principle of action, independent of any visible external force; as, attraction is an active power; or it may be defined, that communicates action or motion, opposed to passive, that receives action; as, the active powers of the mind.
  2. Having the power of quick motion, or disposition to move with speed; nimble; lively; brisk; agile; as, an active animal. Hence,
  3. Busy; constantly engaged in action; pursuing business with vigor and assiduity; opposed to dull, slow, or indolent; as, an active officer. It is also opposed to sedentary; as, an active life.
  4. Requiring action or exertion; practical; operative; producing real effects; opposed to speculative; as, the active duties of life.
  5. In grammar, active verbs are those which not only signify action, but have a noun or name following them, denoting the object of the action or impression; called also transitive, as they imply the passing of the action expressed by the verb to the object; as, a professor instructs his pupils.
  6. Active capital, or wealth, is money, or property, that may readily be converted into money, and used in commerce or other employment for profit. – Hamilton.
  7. Active commerce, the commerce in which a nation carries its own productions and foreign commodities in its own ships, or which is prosecuted by its own citizens; as contradistinguished from passive commerce, in which the productions of one country are transported by the people of another country. The commerce of Great Britain and of the United States is active; that of China is passive. It may be the interest of foreign nations to deprive us, as far as possible of an active commerce in our own bottoms. – Federalist, Hamilton.

ACT'IVE-LY, adv.

In an active manner; by action; nimbly; briskly; also in an active signification; as, a word is used actively.


The quality of being active; the faculty of acting; nimbleness; quickness of motion. Less used than Activity.


The quality of being active; the active faculty; nimbleness; agility; also the habit of diligent and vigorous pursuit of business; as, a man of activity. It is applied to persons or things. Sphere of activity, is the whole space in which the virtue, power, or influence of any object, is exerted. To put in activity, a French phrase, for putting in action or employment.


Without action or spirit.

ACT'OR, n.

  1. He that acts or performs; an active agent.
  2. He that represents a character or acts a part in a play; a stage player.
  3. Among civilians, an advocate or proctor in civil courts of causes.


A female who acts or performs, and especially, on the stage, or in a play.

ACT'U-AL, a. [Fr. actuel. See Act.]

  1. Real or effectual, or that exists truly and absolutely; as, actual heat, opposed to that which is virtual or potential; actual cautery, or the burning by a red-hot iron, opposed to a cautery or caustic application, that may produce the same effect upon the body by a different process.
  2. Existing in act; real; in opposition to speculative, or existing in theory only; as an actual crime.
  3. In theology, actual sin is that which is committed by a person himself, opposed to original sin, or the corruption of nature supposed to be communicated from Adam.
  4. That includes action. Besides her walking and other actual performances. [Hardly legitimate.] – Shak.


Reality. – Haweis.

ACT'U-AL-IZE, v.t.

To make actual.


Making actual. – Coleridge.

ACT'U-AL-LY, adv.

In fact; really; in truth.


The quality of being actual.

ACT'U-A-RY, n. [L. actuarius.]

A registrar or clerk; a term of the civil law, and used originally in courts of civil law jurisdiction; but in Europe used for a clerk or registrar generally.