Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

act out

verb

Definition of act out

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 a :  to represent in action <children act out what they read> b :  to translate into action <unwilling to act out their beliefs>

  3. 2 :  to express (as an impulse or a fantasy) directly in overt behavior without modification to comply with social norms

  4. intransitive verb
  5. :  to behave badly or in a socially unacceptable often self-defeating manner especially as a means of venting painful emotions (as fear or frustration)



Examples of act out in a sentence

  1. <because his parents spent so much time with his chronically ill sister, the boy resorted to acting out in order to get attention>



1611

First Known Use of act out

1611


Medical Dictionary

act out

play
verb \(ˈ)akt-ˈau̇t\

Medical Definition of act out

  1. :  to express (as an impulse or a fantasy) directly in overt behavior without modification to comply with social norms <act out an adolescent fantasy>

  2. intransitive verb

  3. :  to behave badly or in a socially unacceptable often self-defeating manner especially as a means of venting painful emotions (as fear or frustration)





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up act out? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

of or relating to the heavens

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

dog-eating-apple

Which is a synonym of asperse?

placate defame divulge beat
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ