"Action" is a placeholder word for any noun (or sometimes verb) that is clear by context but which the speaker is too lazy to remember.
As in:
  • "Let's fire up the action at the spot." equals "Let's go to Hank's house and play Starcraft."
  • "Let's do some lunch action." equals "Let's go to lunch."
The "lunch action" construct is a way of making lunch (and you) sound hip and with it because you're down with "action."
Criminal activity. "Shape up (be present) tonight, Joe, there's action --a Brooklyn score (robbery)."

- american underworld lingo - 1950

"Action is a multiplayer-only modification, or mod, for the retail first-person shooters Quake 2 and Half-Life. The name Action comes from the mod's theme of high-adrenaline motion pictures, especially those featuring lots and lots of gunplay. From the realistic settings and weapons, to the intricate attention applied to the almighty spin kick, an atmosphere smack-dab in the middle of an action-filled movie awaits the player." --The A-Team, creators of AQ2 and AHL.

There are two brands of Action at this particular moment; the first was and still is Action Quake 2, and the second is Action Half-Life. The next predicted release is Action Unreal Tournament.

British comic that was the immediate fore-runner to 2000AD.
Only lasted 6 months or so and managed to get itself banned due to the extreme gore and violence shown in some of the strips.
These included Hookjaw, which was a rip-off of the Jaws film;
Spinball, a spin on Rollerball
and Dredger, who was kind of a Dirty Harry character if I remember right.
It merged with Battle after about a year.

Action also refers to the playability of a guitar. While it's a somewhat subjective area, a guitar is considered to have good action if it takes the same amount of force to fret the strings all the way up and down the fretboard. A guitar with bad action typically takes more force to fret higher up the board. A guitar is also said to have high action if the strings are high off of the fretboard, and low action if they are very close to the fretboard. Most players prefer a guitar with good, low action.

A great television show on the Fox network which got cancelled after just a few episodes. Basically, Action was a satire on Hollywood and more specifically the movie industry. The lead character, Peter Dragon, played by Jay Mohr, is a dimwitted, perhaps bisexual producer who is trying to come to grips with his latest flop. Other characters include his prostitute girlfriend Wendy, his uncle/chauffeur played wonderfully by Buddy Hackett, and a put upon screenwriter named Adam Rafkin. Unfortunately, Fox never promoted the show very well, and buried it in a Thursday night lineup where it was sure to get trounced by NBC.

Ac"tion (#), n. [OF. action, L. actio, fr. agere to do. See Act.]


A process or condition of acting or moving, as opposed to rest; the doing of something; exertion of power or force, as when one body acts on another; the effect of power exerted on one body by another; agency; activity; operation; as, the action of heat; a man of action.

One wise in council, one in action brave. Pope.


An act; a thing done; a deed; an enterprise. (pl.): Habitual deeds; hence, conduct; behavior; demeanor.

The Lord is a Good of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. 1 Sam. ii. 3.


The event or connected series of events, either real or imaginary, forming the subject of a play, poem, or other composition; the unfolding of the drama of events.


Movement; as, the horse has a spirited action.

5. Mech.

Effective motion; also, mechanism; as, the breech action of a gun.

6. Physiol.

Any one of the active processes going on in an organism; the performance of a function; as, the action of the heart, the muscles, or the gastric juice.

7. Orat.

Gesticulation; the external deportment of the speaker, or the suiting of his attitude, voice, gestures, and countenance, to the subject, or to the feelings.

8. Paint. & Sculp.

The attitude or position of the several parts of the body as expressive of the sentiment or passion depicted.

9. Law (a)

A suit or process, by which a demand is made of a right in a court of justice; in a broad sense, a judicial proceeding for the enforcement or protection of a right, the redress or prevention of a wrong, or the punishment of a public offense.


A right of action; as, the law gives an action for every claim.

10. Com.

A share in the capital stock of a joint-stock company, or in the public funds; hence, in the plural, equivalent to stocks.

[A Gallicism] [Obs.]

The Euripus of funds and actions. Burke.


An engagement between troops in war, whether on land or water; a battle; a fight; as, a general action, a partial action.

12. Music

The mechanical contrivance by means of which the impulse of the player's finger is transmitted to the strings of a pianoforte or to the valve of an organ pipe.


Chose in action. Law See Chose. -- Quantity of action Physics, the product of the mass of a body by the space it runs through, and its velocity.

Syn. -- Action, Act. In many cases action and act are synonymous; but some distinction is observable. Action involves the mode or process of acting, and is usually viewed as occupying some time in doing. Act has more reference to the effect, or the operation as complete.

To poke the fire is an act, to reconcile friends who have quarreled is a praiseworthy action. C. J. Smith.


© Webster 1913.

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