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)

Synonyms for act out

Synonyms

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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 And Define Your Needs Most often, people who lose their jobs act out of desperation to quickly find a new one. Heidi Lynne Kurter, Forbes, 1 May 2022 The faithful often act out the events of Good Friday by carrying a large wooden cross and crown of thorns symbolic of the suffering of Christ. al, 15 Apr. 2022 Symptoms vary greatly, but in general, depressed girls may become withdrawn, whereas boys may fight or act out, incurring the label of behavior problem rather than, say, mood disorder. New York Times, 23 Mar. 2022 Larin said a person that intoxicated may not understand instructions correctly and can act out of character. Elisha Anderson, Detroit Free Press, 6 May 2022 In 1997, Ingrosso’s dad received a white label promo from a new electronic act out of Paris. SPIN, 3 Mar. 2022 After dividing groups into teams, have each participant write down Bible characters for the other team to act out for their teammates. Corinne Sullivan, Woman's Day, 5 May 2022 Now that Lincoln Riley took his act out West things may finally be looking up in Austin. Scooby Axson, USA TODAY, 26 Apr. 2022 Transit officials have pegged recent behavior on fewer riders, saying that has emboldened some of the existing customers to act out. Sarah Freishtat, chicagotribune.com, 21 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of act out

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

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Time Traveler for act out

Time Traveler

The first known use of act out was circa 1616

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Dictionary Entries Near act out

actory

act out

act/play the fool

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Statistics for act out

Last Updated

30 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Act out.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/act%20out. Accessed 4 Jul. 2022.

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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)

More from Merriam-Webster on act out

Nglish: Translation of act out for Spanish Speakers

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