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1 a : something done by a person in accordance with his or her free will [a tortious ] see also actus reus
b : the failure to do something that one has a legal duty to do called also negative act
2 a often cap
: the formal product of a legislative body
: the formally declared will of a legislature the final requirement of which is usually the signature of the proper executive officer
: statute [an of Congress]
b : a decision or determination of a sovereign, a legislative council, or a court of justice compare bill
3 often cap
: a formal record of something done or transacted [given as my free and deed] [matters of procedure are provided for in that Act "Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 81(a)(6)"]
vi 1 : to carry into effect a determination of the will
: take action
2 : to discharge the duties of a specified office or post
: perform a specified function used with a prepositional phrase [declaring what officer shall then as President "U.S. Constitution art. II"]
3 : to give a decision or award (as by vote of a deliberative body or by judicial decree) often used with on [adjourned with several important matters still not ed on]
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.