Synonyms of act in English:


See definition of act


1‘the Government must act to remedy the situation’

take action, take steps, take measures, take the initiative, move, make a move, react, do something, proceed, go ahead
make progress, make headway, be active, be employed, be busy
informal get moving

do nothing

2‘over dinner Alison began to act oddly’

behave, function, react, perform
conduct oneself, acquit oneself, bear oneself
rare comport oneself, deport oneself

3‘the scents act as a powerful aphrodisiac’

operate, work, take effect, function, serve, be efficacious

4‘he acted in a highly successful film’

perform, play, play a part, take part, be an actor, be an actress, be one of the cast, appear
informal tread the boards

5‘we laughed, but most of us were just acting’

pretend, play-act, sham, fake, feign, put it on, bluff, pose, posture, masquerade, dissemble, dissimulate
informal kid


1‘a life filled with acts of kindness’

deed, action, gesture, feat, exploit, move, performance, undertaking, manoeuvre, stunt, operation, venture, effort, enterprise, achievement, accomplishment

2‘the Act raised the tax on tobacco’

law, decree, statute, bill, Act of Parliament, edict, fiat, dictum, dictate, enactment, resolution, ruling, rule, judgement, canon, ordinance, proclamation, command, commandment, mandate, measure, stipulation, direction, requirement

3‘I have written one act of a play’

division, section, subsection, portion, part, segment, component, bit
passage, episode, chapter

4‘a marvellous music hall act’

performance, turn, routine, number, item, piece, sketch, skit, playlet, dance, song
show, production, presentation, entertainment
informal gig

5‘my mother thinks crying is simply putting on an act’

pretence, false display, show, front, facade, masquerade, charade, guise, posture, pose, affectation, appearance
sham, fake, bluff, hoax
make-believe, play-acting, feigning, shamming, posturing, posing, counterfeit, subterfuge, dissimulation, dissemblance, fabrication, falsification
informal a put-on, a put-up job


    act for

    ‘the estate agent was acting for a prospective buyer’


    represent, act on behalf of, speak on behalf of

    stand in for, fill in for, deputize for, cover for, substitute for, be a substitute for, replace, take the place of, act in place of, be a locum for, do a locum for, sit in for, understudy

    hold the fort, step into the breach


    sub for, fill someone's boots, fill someone's shoes

    North American informal

    pinch-hit for

    act up

    1‘the pupils are past masters at acting up in class’


    misbehave, give someone trouble, cause someone trouble, act badly, get up to mischief, get up to no good, be bad, be naughty, forget oneself, misconduct oneself

    clown about, clown around, fool about, fool around, act the clown, act the fool, act the goat, act foolishly


    carry on, mess about, mess around

    British informal

    muck about, muck around, play up

    2‘the computers are always acting up’


    malfunction, crash, develop a fault, go wrong, break down, give out, stall, be defective, be faulty, fail, cease to function, cease to work, stop working


    conk out, go kaput, go phut, go on the blink, be on the blink

    British informal

    pack up, play up

    act on/upon

    1‘the drug acted directly on the blood vessels’


    affect, have an effect on, influence, exert influence on, work on, have an impact on, impact on, alter, change, modify, transform, condition, control


    have no effect on

    2‘he was merely acting on the orders of the party leader’


    comply with, act in accordance with, follow, go along with

    obey, take heed of, heed, conform to, abide by, adhere to, stick to, stand by, uphold, fulfil, meet, discharge