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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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 Free people act out of self-preservation, but they shouldn’t be coerced to act through the ... Aaron Rhodes, National Review, "WHO Chief Tedros Has Got to Go," 17 Apr. 2020 Back in 2011, the Times compared video chatting to jet packs, in terms of unimaginability: look at us acting out that cyberspace fantasy now, as if inside the Tron mainframe. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Welcome to the Zoom Party," 31 Mar. 2020 Peter and the ladies visit a telenovela set and are given roles to act out for their show, El Amor de Pedro. Lia Beck, refinery29.com, "The Bachelor Season 24, Episode 6 Recap: You Can’t Make This Stuff Up," 5 Feb. 2020 Still, Jaymes acted out at home and at school, and continued to do so for years. Popular Science, "A popular autism drug for children isn’t as safe as its label indicates," 10 Mar. 2020 Trump acted out, continuing to rail against her for a tense moment with former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Savannah Behrmann, USA TODAY, "Donald Trump bashes Brad Pitt, Joe Biden and polls during Colorado rally," 20 Feb. 2020 So, why is your daughter acting out toward teachers and siblings, as well as playing the blame game? Meghan Leahy, chicagotribune.com, "When your teen is suddenly rude, keep communication open," 6 Dec. 2019 The story is acted out through impressive juggling, acrobatics, contortions and hoop jumping, to name a few. Michelle Cohan, CNN, "Ethiopia's newest export: Circus," 3 Oct. 2019 Bud acted out as his mind descended into confusion. Vic Ryckaert, Indianapolis Star, "The World War II vet was held captive by an escapee. Then he became someone else.," 3 Sep. 2019

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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Time Traveler for act out

Time Traveler

The first known use of act out was circa 1616

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Statistics for act out

Last Updated

28 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Act out.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/act%20out. Accessed 25 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for act out

\ (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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for act out

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with act out

Nglish: Translation of act out for Spanish Speakers

Comments on act out

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