act out

verb

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

Instead, only two acts out of the 10 that perform each night are chosen to go through to the finale. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Here's How 'America's Got Talent: The Champions' Voting Works in Case You're Confused," 15 Jan. 2019 The first season seemed to be well received, and at the very least, Sherman-Palladino’s writing is always fun to hear acted out. Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge, "New trailers: Bohemian Rhapsody, How to Train Your Dragon 3, Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and more," 27 Oct. 2018 Doctors and lawyers who have visited the shelters in South Texas’ Rio Grande Valley said the facilities were fine, clean and safe, but the children — who have no idea where their parents are — were hysterical, crying and acting out . Washington Post, "At least 3 “tender age” shelters set up for child migrants," 21 June 2018 No drum kits or amplifiers clutter the floor, allowing Byrne and his 11-member supporting cast to dance and act out songs on every available inch of real estate. David Lindquist, Indianapolis Star, "5 ways David Byrne revisits greatness in Indianapolis," 10 June 2018 Have someone gently hold her hand while another woman acted out choking noises? Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi, Woman's Day, "The Real Story Behind the Musical 'Chicago'," 12 May 2017 Welcome to Santo Poco! is a reference to the comedy Tres Amigos and even just mentioning the name prompts Steven and William to act out short bits from the film a la Steve Martin and Martin Short. Olivia Martin, Town & Country, "Welcome to Santo Poco! The Ladd Brothers Evoke Childhood Magic at Cristina Grajales Gallery," 29 Nov. 2018 Robert Bowers might have acted out in hatred of Jewish values and derangement against Jewish conspiracies, but his evil must not be explained away. Dani Dayan, WSJ, "Israel’s Heart Goes Out to Squirrel Hill," 28 Oct. 2018 The 2018 MTV Video Music Awards are almost here — meaning fans can expect an array of shocking performances and stars acting out. Zoe Szathmary, Fox News, "MTV VMAs most shocking moments, from Britney Spears and Madonna's kiss to Kanye West's mic grab," 20 Aug. 2018

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

18 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

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)

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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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