1 thing that sb does
charitable, kind
heroic, selfless

a heroic act of bravery

aggressive, barbaric, hostile, provocative, terrorist, violent

He was arrested on suspicion of planning terrorist acts.

appalling (esp. BrE), cowardly, despicable, heinous, horrific, immoral, outrageous, terrible, unspeakable

appalling acts of cruelty

horrific acts of violence

criminal, delinquent (esp. AmE), illegal, unlawful, wrongful
careless (esp. BrE), foolish, impulsive
conscious, deliberate, intentional, positive, voluntary, wilful/willful

The company says that the explosion was no accident but a deliberate act of sabotage.

private, public

a private act of revenge

creative, dramatic, physical, political, symbolic
homosexual, sex, sexual

random acts of violence

carry out, commit (law), perform, perpetrate

images of African Americans performing heroic acts

charged with committing an act of gross indecency

condone, justify
in the act of (= while doing something)
act of

For Jane, the act of writing was always difficult.

an act of faith, an act of love, an act of violence, an act of will, an act of worship
a hard act to follow, a tough act to follow

Their contribution will prove a hard act to follow.

catch sb in the act (of doing sth)

He was caught in the act of stealing.

the simple act of doing sth, the very act of doing sth

The very act of writing out your plan clarifies what you need to do.

2 law made by a government
bring in (BrE), introduce, pass

The Act was passed by a majority of 175 votes to 143.


The old act has now been repealed.

breach (esp. BrE), contravene (BrE), violate (esp. AmE)

The company had violated the Data Security Act of 2006.

become law, come into force (BrE)

The new Children's Act will become law next year.

contain sth, say sth, state sth

The act contains regulations for financial institutions.

apply to sth

The 1995 act applies only to food and not to dietary supplements.

require sth
prohibit sth
under an/the act

He was charged under the Firearms Act.

3 entertainment; entertainers
class (informal) (used for sb who does sth well)

Their new player looks a class act.


comedy double act French and Saunders


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, dance, drag, music, musical, novelty, stage, stand-up, variety

The club offers live music and cabaret acts.

The group is merely a novelty act (= an act that is only interesting because it is strange or unusual).

hip-hop, pop, rock, etc.
balancing, disappearing, juggling, vanishing (all figurative)

The cat had done a disappearing act.

The UN must perform a difficult balancing act between the two sides in the conflict.

do, perform

He does a little novelty act.

rehearse, work on

I have to work on my act.

4 division of a play
final, last
first, second, etc.
in (the) act

The king is killed in the opening act.

5 insincere actions
put on

Don't take any notice—she's just putting on an act!

1 do sth/behave
at once, immediately, promptly, quickly, swiftly

The government must act promptly to change this law.

appropriately, correctly, legally, properly
dishonestly, illegally, improperly, inappropriately, unconstitutionally, unlawfully, wrongly

The country's highest court ruled that police had acted unlawfully.

rationally, reasonably, responsibly, sensibly (esp. BrE), wisely

All citizens have a duty to act responsibly and show respect to others.

irrationally, irresponsibly, rashly, unreasonably
oddly, strangely, suspiciously

Jenny has been acting rather strangely recently.

bravely, heroically

The government was criticized for failing to act decisively.

independently, unilaterally
in self-defence/self-defense

The jury accepted that he had acted in self-defence/self-defense.


George knew about the letter and acted accordingly.


The government needs to act against the sale of these dangerous toys.

for sb, on behalf of sb

His lawyers are continuing to act for him.


Stop acting like a spoiled child.

hormones in the brain that act like natural painkillers


Alcohol acts quickly on the brain.

out of

I suspected that he was acting out of malice.

act as if

She was acting as if she owned the place.

act in sb's best interests

We are all acting in the best interests of the children.

act in good faith

His excuse was that he had acted in good faith.

2 perform in a play, film/movie, etc.
brilliantly, well

The play is well acted.

badly, poorly
Act is used with these nouns as the subject: ↑actor, actress
Act is used with these nouns as the object: ↑age, ↑part, ↑scene

Collocations dictionary. 2013.


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