General English

General Science

  • verb to produce an effect


  • noun a law passed by parliament which must be obeyed by the people




  • noun something which somebody does


  • verb to do someone else’s job on a temporary basis


  • noun a law which has been approved by a law-making body.


  • One of the major structural divisions of a play. The end ofan act, which can contain several scenes, is often indicated by thelowering of the curtain (in proscenium arch theaters) orby raising the house lights. In ancient Greece tragedies were dividedinto five acts, a convention that was reinforced by Horace (65 - 8BC) in his Ars Poetica. Ben Jonson introduced thisconvention to the English stage, leading later editors to divide Shakespeare'stragedies into five acts. Comedies are traditionally written in three acts.Modern drama tends to employ a more varied structure, with manyfull-length plays having no divisions into acts.
  • (written as ACT)
    see American Conservatory Theatre.

Cars & Driving

  • acronym forair charge temperature
    (written as ACT)
  • noun the temperature of the air sucked into the carburettor or fuel injection system.

Origin & History of “act”

Act, action, active, actor all go back to Latin agere ‘do, perform’ (which is the source of a host of other English derivatives, from agent to prodigal). The past participle of this verb was āctus, from which we get act, partly through French acte, but in the main directly from Latin. The Latin agent noun, āctor, came into the language at about the same time, although at first it remained a rather uncommon word in English, with technical legal uses; it was not until the end of the 16th century that it came into its own in the theatre (player had hitherto been the usual term).

Other Latin derivatives of the past participial stem āct- were the noun āctiō, which entered English via Old French action, and the adjective āctīvus, which gave English active. See also (actual).