Anact is strictly and originally something accomplished by an exercise of power, in which sense
it is synonymous withdeed oreffect.
Act is therefore single,
individual, momentary;action a complex ofacts, or a process, state, or habit of exerting power.
We say a virtuousact, but rather a virtuous course
ofaction. We speak of
theaction of an acid
upon a metal, not of itsact.
Act is used, also, for the
power; as, anact of
will. In this sense anact does not necessarily imply an externaleffect, while anaction does.
Morally, theact of murder is in the determination to kill;
legally, theact is not
complete without the striking of the fatal blow.Act anddeed are both used for the thing done,
butact refers to the
power put forth,deed to
the result accomplished; as, a voluntaryact, a baddeed.
In connection with other wordsact is more usually qualified by the use of another
noun,action by an
adjective preceding; we may say a kindact, though more
often anact of kindness,but only a
As betweenact anddeed,deed is commonly used of great, notable, and
Afeat exhibits strength, skill, personal power, whether mental or physical, especially the
latter; as, afeat of
arms, afeat of
Anexploit is a conspicuous or
involving valor or heroism, usually combined with strength, skill, loftiness of thought, and readiness of
resource; anachievement is the doing of something great and noteworthy; anexploit is brilliant, but its effect may be
transient; anachievement is solid, and its effect enduring.
Act andaction are both in contrast to all that is merely passive and receptive. The
easier than passive endurance.