act noun

1 thing that sb does

ADJ. charitable, kind | heroic a heroic act of bravery | aggressive, barbaric, hostile, provocative, terrorist, violent | appalling, despicable, outrageous, terrible | criminal, illegal, unlawful, wrongful | careless, foolish, impulsive | conscious, deliberate, positive, voluntary, wilful | private a private act of revenge | public | creative, dramatic, physical, political, symbolic | homosexual, sex/sexual | balancing, disappearing, juggling, vanishing The UN must perform a difficult balancing act between the two sides in the conflict.

VERB + ACT commit (law), perform charged with committing an act of gross indecency

PREP. in the ~ of (= doing something) | ~ of For Jane, the act of writing was always difficult.

PHRASES an act of faith, love, violence, will, worship, etc., catch sb in the act (of doing sth) He was caught in the act of stealing. | the simple/very act of doing sth The very act of writing out your plan clarifies what you need to do.

2 (also Act) law made by a government

VERB + ACT bring in, introduce, pass The Act was passed by a majority of 175 votes to 143. | amend | repeal The old Act has now been repealed. | breach, contravene The company had breached the 1994 Companies Act.

ACT + VERB become law, come into force The new Children's Act will come into force next year. | contain sth, say sth, state sth The Act contains regulations for banks and building societies.

PREP. under an/the ~ He was charged under the Firearms Act of 1977.

3 entertainment; entertainers

ADJ. class (informal) (used for sb who does sth well) Their new striker looks a class act. | double comedy double act French and Saunders | live their reputation as one of rock's most impressive live acts | main, support The main act will come on at about ten o'clock. | cabaret, circus, comedy, song-and-dance, stage, variety

VERB + ACT do, perform He does a little song-and-dance act. | rehearse, work on

4 division of a play

ADJ. opening | final, last | first, second, etc.

PREP. in (the) ~ The king is killed in the opening act.

5 insincere behaviour

VERB + ACT put on Don't take any notice?she's just putting on an act!