act out

verb
acted out; acting out; acts out

Definition of act out

transitive verb

1a : to represent in action children act out what they read
b : to translate into action unwilling to act out their beliefs
2 : to express (something, such as an impulse or a fantasy) directly in overt behavior without modification to comply with social norms

intransitive verb

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

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Synonyms for act out

Synonyms

act up, carry on, misbehave

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Examples of act out in a Sentence

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

Recent Examples on the Web

Rue then proceeds to narrate an example of one such naughty scene, which is acted out on screen by animated versions of Styles and Tomlinson. Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY, "'Euphoria': Louis Tomlinson says he didn't approve fake sex scene with Harry Styles," 1 July 2019 Their conversations help Frazier with her anger, which caused her to act out and get expelled last school year. al.com, "50 years after Stonewall, black transwomen fight for change in Birmingham," 28 June 2019 Each summer evening, the town's unique Americana comes alive with a classic cowboy shootout acted out at the center of town. Laura Kiniry, Smithsonian, "The 15 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2019," 6 June 2019 Kiyindou Yamakasi Growing up in Brazzaville, Kiyindou Yamakasi began making comics at a young age sharing them with his primary school friends who would act out the scenes. Ciku Kimeria, Quartz Africa, "The Congolese storyteller drawing on African mythology and spirituality for his comic books," 2 June 2019 But people are increasingly buying them without doing their research, which often results in a lifestyle clash: The husky is frustrated by a lack of proper exercise and stimulation, and the owner doesn’t understand why their dog is acting out. National Geographic, "In Game of Thrones fans’ pursuit of real-life dire wolves, huskies may pay the price," 6 May 2019 The abusers also may be children themselves, repeating or acting out what they've been shown. Melanie Laughman, Cincinnati.com, "What parents can do to reduce the risk of their children being sexually abused," 21 June 2019 These roles are not only sung by vocalists but also acted out by instrumental soloists, who must memorize their parts and execute precisely choreographed movements. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "Karlheinz Stockhausen Composes the Cosmos," 17 June 2019 Laura had been acting out, hanging out with friends who were on probation. Lina Zeldovich, Popular Mechanics, "The Vertical Farm That Lifted a Family," 2 June 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'act out.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of act out

circa 1616, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

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Statistics for act out

Last Updated

8 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for act out

The first known use of act out was circa 1616

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More Definitions for act out

act out

transitive verb
\ (ˈ)akt-ˈau̇t How to pronounce act out (audio) \

Medical Definition of act out

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

intransitive verb

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on act out

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with act out

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for act out

Nglish: Translation of act out for Spanish Speakers

Comments on act out

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