act out

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  • IPA(key): /ˌækt ˈaʊ̯t/
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act out (third-person singular simple present acts out, present participle acting out, simple past and past participle acted out)

  1. Used other than figuratively or idiomatically: see act,‎ out.
    She's a street performer, so she acts out on Ninth Street.
  2. (transitive) To perform something specific.
    • 1987, Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today's Students
      What was acted out in the American and French Revolutions had been thought out beforehand in the writings of Locke and Rousseau, the scenarists for the drama of modern politics.
    1. (idiomatic) To perform a scene from a play, a charade or an exercise.
      Despite already being aware, he will be acting out the pretence of a surprise.
    2. (idiomatic) To perform a fantasy in reality.
      I've wanted to do this for so long, but I never thought I could act it out.
  3. (transitive, intransitive) To express internal feelings or thoughts.
    1. To express one's feelings through disruptive actions.
      I know you're angry, but you can't act out and break dishes like that.
    2. To express ideas or desires through actions rather than words.
      When her jaw was wired shut, she had acted out what she needed.