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 Carlos and Gera’s fast-changing friendship lends the movie some emotional ballast, and so do their respective families — even the underdeveloped parental figures, who, as Carlos’ mother wryly notes, once acted out themselves in similar ways. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: ‘This Is Not Berlin’ vividly conjures a bygone Mexican counterculture," 12 Sep. 2019 The first was that the district concluded there was no evidence demonstrating that Zehren acted out of any racial malice. Alec Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Shorewood Intermediate School teacher accused of racism has 'reluctantly' decided to retire from the district," 2 Aug. 2019 Students with mental and behavioral health needs struggle to learn, sometimes acting out in ways that impede classmates’ learning. oregonlive, "Oregon will spend big to promote youth mental health at school," 14 Sep. 2019 If Brown acts out, the Patriots can just release him and move on. Ben Volin, BostonGlobe.com, "Breaking down the Patriots’ signing of Antonio Brown," 7 Sep. 2019 There are unfair distributions of black and brown kids in remedial and on-grade level classes because of intolerant teachers who see acting out as causeless insubordination. Joshua Burrell, baltimoresun.com, "Joshua Burrell: Growing up black in Columbia," 1 Aug. 2019 The sessions incorporate music and books, along with acting out different animals, to introduce the basics of yoga to children. Emily Sabens, Indianapolis Star, "Yoga with goats? With wine? With rabbits? Try these 10 unique yoga classes in Indianapolis," 10 Sep. 2019 The on-screen/off-screen besties acted out a scene from the Disney film, in between filming scenes for Stranger Things 3. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Millie Bobby Brown and Sadie Sink Acted Out Scenes from "Frozen" on the Set of "Stranger Things"," 26 July 2019 Tory MPs are also acting out of self-preservation in their choice of Messrs Hunt and Johnson to finish off the contest. The Economist, "And then there were two," 20 June 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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Statistics for act out

Last Updated

11 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for act out

The first known use of act out was circa 1616

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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)

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

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