First Name
in the U.S.
since 1880
Last Name
in the U.S.
in 2010
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Meaning and Origin

What does the name Act mean? Find out below.

Origin and Meaning of Act

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Webster's Unabridged Dictionary
noun Act
  1. That which is done or doing; the exercise of power, or the effect, of which power exerted is the cause; a performance; a deed."That best portion of a good man's life, His little, nameless, unremembered acts Of kindness and of love." [Wordsworth.]
    1. The result of public deliberation; the decision or determination of a legislative body, council, court of justice, etc.; a decree, edit, law, judgment, resolve, award; as, an act of Parliament, or of Congress.
    2. A formal solemn writing, expressing that something has been done.
    3. A performance of part of a play; one of the principal divisions of a play or dramatic work in which a certain definite part of the action is completed.
    4. A thesis maintained in public, in some English universities, by a candidate for a degree, or to show the proficiency of a student.
  2. A state of reality or real existence as opposed to a possibility or possible existence.(Obs)"The seeds of plants are not at first in act, but in possibility, what they afterward grow to be." [Hooker.]
  3. Process of doing; action. In act, in the very doing; on the point of (doing)." In actto shoot." [Dryden.]"This woman was taken . . . in the very act." [John viii. 4.]
    synonyms: See Action.

Etymology: L. actus, fr. agere to drive, do: cf. F. acte. See Agent

verb Act
  1. To move to action; to actuate; to animate.(Obs)"Self-love, the spring of motion, acts the soul." [Pope.]
  2. To perform; to execute; to do.(Archaic)"That we act our temporal affairs with a desire no greater than our necessity." [Jer. Taylor.]"Industry doth beget by producing good habits, and facility of acting things expedient for us to do." [Barrow.]"Uplifted hands that at convenient times Could act extortion and the worst of crimes." [Cowper.]
  3. To perform, as an actor; to represent dramatically on the stage.
  4. To assume the office or character of; to play; to personate; as, to act the hero.
  5. To feign or counterfeit; to simulate."With acted fear the villain thus pursued." [Dryden.]

Etymology: L. actus, p. p. of agere to drive, lead, do; but influenced by E. act, n

verb Act
  1. To exert power; to produce an effect; as, the stomach acts upon food.
  2. To perform actions; to fulfill functions; to put forth energy; to move, as opposed to remaining at rest; to carry into effect a determination of the will."He hangs between, in doubt to act or rest." [Pope.]
  3. To behave or conduct, as in morals, private duties, or public offices; to bear or deport one's self; as, we know not why he has acted so.
  4. To perform on the stage; to represent a character."To show the world how Garrick did not act." [Cowper.]
Other Dictionary Sources
  1. Something that people do or cause to happen
  2. A legal document codifying the result of deliberations of a committee or society or legislative body
  3. A short performance that is part of a longer program ("he did his act three times every evening")
  4. A subdivision of a play or opera or ballet
  5. A manifestation of insincerity ("he put on quite an act for her benefit")
  6. Behave in a certain manner; show a certain behavior; conduct or comport oneself ("You should act like an adult" and "The dog acts ferocious, but he is really afraid of people")
  7. Pretend to have certain qualities or state of mind ("He acted the idiot")
  8. Discharge one's duties ("She acts as the chair" and "In what capacity are you acting?")
  9. Play a role or part ("She wants to act Lady Macbeth, but she is too young for the role")
  10. Perform on a stage or theater ("She acts in this play" and "He acted in `Julius Caesar'")
  11. Behave unnaturally or affectedly ("She's just acting")
  12. Perform an action, or work out or perform (an action) ("think before you act", "The governor should act on the new energy bill", and "The nanny acted quickly by grabbing the toddler and covering him with a wet towel")
  13. Be engaged in an activity, often for no particular purpose other than pleasure
  14. Have an effect or outcome; often the one desired or expected ("How does your idea work in practice?" and "The breaks of my new car act quickly")
  15. Be suitable for theatrical performance ("This scene acts well")
  1. Initialism of Australian Capital Territory, a federal territory of Australia.
  2. Initialism of American College Test.
  3. An instance of a certain standardized college admissions test in the United States, originally called the American College Test.

Notable Persons Named Act

Act was born on November 13th, 1986 in Misawa, Aomori, Japan.


Notable Persons With the Last Name Act

Courtney was given the name Shane Jenek on February 18th, 1982 in Brisbane.


Fun Facts about the name Act

  • When was the first name Act first recorded in the United States? The oldest recorded birth by the Social Security Administration for the name Act is Monday, August 15th, 1881.
  • How unique is the name Act? From 1880 to 2017 less than 5 people per year have been born with the first name Act. Hoorah! You are a unique individual.
  • Weird things about the name Act: Your name in reverse order is Tca. A random rearrangement of the letters in your name (anagram) will give Atc. How do you pronounce that?

What Acts Have Visited This Page?

Past life for Act born Jun 29, 2005

I do not know how you feel about it, but you were a female in your last earthly incarnation. You were born somewhere around the territory of Mexico approximately on 1825. Your profession was medicine man, surgeon, and herbalist.

You had a mind of a scientist, always seeking new explanations. Environment often misunderstood you. Had a respectable knowledge. Magic is everywhere around you, in most usual, most ordinary incidents. Your lesson - to learn magic and to help people to see it clearly. You are a magician!

Name poster for Act

Name poster for Act(click to save the high quality version)

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  • Sources:
  • U.S. Census Bureau: Frequently Occurring Surnames from the Census 2000 (public domain).
  • 1913 Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary via the Collaborative International Dictionary of English (License)
  • Other Dictionary Sources: WordNet 3.1 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University (License).
  • Wiktionary: Titles and License.
  • Notable persons via Wikipedia: Titles and License. Click each image for the attribution information.