act of grace

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Grace \Grace\ (gr[=a]s), n. [F. gr[^a]ce, L. gratia, from gratus
   beloved, dear, agreeable; perh. akin to Gr. ? to rejoice,
   cha`ris favor, grace, Skr. hary to desire, and E. yearn. Cf.
   Grateful, Gratis.]
   1. The exercise of love, kindness, mercy, favor; disposition
      to benefit or serve another; favor bestowed or privilege
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            To bow and sue for grace
            With suppliant knee.                  --Milton.
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   2. (Theol.) The divine favor toward man; the mercy of God, as
      distinguished from His justice; also, any benefits His
      mercy imparts; divine love or pardon; a state of
      acceptance with God; enjoyment of the divine favor.
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            And if by grace, then is it no more of works. --Rom.
                                                  xi. 6.
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            My grace is sufficicnt for thee.      --2 Cor. xii.
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            Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.
                                                  --Rom. v. 20.
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            By whom also we have access by faith into this grace
            wherein we stand.                     --Rom. v.2
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   3. (Law)
      (a) The prerogative of mercy execised by the executive, as
      (b) The same prerogative when exercised in the form of
          equitable relief through chancery.
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   4. Fortune; luck; -- used commonly with hard or sorry when it
      means misfortune. [Obs.] --Chaucer.
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   5. Inherent excellence; any endowment or characteristic
      fitted to win favor or confer pleasure or benefit.
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            He is complete in feature and in mind.
            With all good grace to grace a gentleman. --Shak.
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            I have formerly given the general character of Mr.
            Addison's style and manner as natural and
            unaffected, easy and polite, and full of those
            graces which a flowery imagination diffuses over
            writing.                              --Blair.
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   6. Beauty, physical, intellectual, or moral; loveliness;
      commonly, easy elegance of manners; perfection of form.
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            Grace in women gains the affections sooner, and
            secures them longer, than any thing else. --Hazlitt.
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            I shall answer and thank you again For the gift and
            the grace of the gift.                --Longfellow.
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   7. pl. (Myth.) Graceful and beautiful females, sister
      goddesses, represented by ancient writers as the
      attendants sometimes of Apollo but oftener of Venus. They
      were commonly mentioned as three in number; namely,
      Aglaia, Euphrosyne, and Thalia, and were regarded as the
      inspirers of the qualities which give attractiveness to
      wisdom, love, and social intercourse.
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            The Graces love to weave the rose.    --Moore.
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            The Loves delighted, and the Graces played. --Prior.
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   8. The title of a duke, a duchess, or an archbishop, and
      formerly of the king of England.
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            How fares your Grace !                --Shak.
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   9. (Commonly pl.) Thanks. [Obs.]
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            Yielding graces and thankings to their lord
            Melibeus.                             --Chaucer.
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   10. A petition for grace; a blessing asked, or thanks
       rendered, before or after a meal.
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   11. pl. (Mus.) Ornamental notes or short passages, either
       introduced by the performer, or indicated by the
       composer, in which case the notation signs are called
       grace notes, appeggiaturas, turns, etc.
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   12. (Eng. Universities) An act, vote, or decree of the
       government of the institution; a degree or privilege
       conferred by such vote or decree. --Walton.
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   13. pl. A play designed to promote or display grace of
       motion. It consists in throwing a small hoop from one
       player to another, by means of two sticks in the hands of
       each. Called also grace hoop or hoops.
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   Act of grace. See under Act.

   Day of grace (Theol.), the time of probation, when the
      offer of divine forgiveness is made and may be accepted.
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            That day of grace fleets fast away.   --I. Watts.

   Days of grace (Com.), the days immediately following the
      day when a bill or note becomes due, which days are
      allowed to the debtor or payer to make payment in. In
      Great Britain and the United States, the days of grace are
      three, but in some countries more, the usages of merchants
      being different.

   Good graces, favor; friendship.

   Grace cup.
       (a) A cup or vessel in which a health is drunk after
       (b) A health drunk after grace has been said.
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                 The grace cup follows to his sovereign's
                 health.                          --Hing.

   Grace drink, a drink taken on rising from the table; a
      grace cup.
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            To [Queen Margaret, of Scotland] . . . we owe the
            custom of the grace drink, she having established it
            as a rule at her table, that whosoever staid till
            grace was said was rewarded with a bumper. --Encyc.

   Grace hoop, a hoop used in playing graces. See Grace, n.,

   Grace note (Mus.), an appoggiatura. See Appoggiatura, and
      def. 11 above.

   Grace stroke, a finishing stoke or touch; a coup de grace.

   Means of grace, means of securing knowledge of God, or
      favor with God, as the preaching of the gospel, etc.

   To do grace, to reflect credit upon.
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            Content to do the profession some grace. --Shak.

   To say grace, to render thanks before or after a meal.

   With a good grace, in a fit and proper manner grace fully;

   With a bad grace, in a forced, reluctant, or perfunctory
      manner; ungraciously.
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            What might have been done with a good grace would at
            be done with a bad grace.             --Macaulay.

   Syn: Elegance; comeliness; charm; favor; kindness; mercy.

   Usage: Grace, Mercy. These words, though often
          interchanged, have each a distinctive and peculiar
          meaning. Grace, in the strict sense of the term, is
          spontaneous favor to the guilty or undeserving; mercy
          is kindness or compassion to the suffering or
          condemned. It was the grace of God that opened a way
          for the exercise of mercy toward men. See Elegance.
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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Act \Act\ ([a^]kt), n. [L. actus, fr. agere to drive, do: cf. F.
   acte. See Agent.]
   1. That which is done or doing; the exercise of power, or the
      effect, of which power exerted is the cause; a
      performance; a deed.
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            That best portion of a good man's life,
            His little, nameless, unremembered acts
            Of kindness and of love.              --Wordsworth.
      [1913 Webster] Hence, in specific uses:
      (a) The result of public deliberation; the decision or
          determination of a legislative body, council, court of
          justice, etc.; a decree, edit, law, judgment, resolve,
          award; as, an act of Parliament, or of Congress.
      (b) A formal solemn writing, expressing that something has
          been done. --Abbott.
      (c) A performance of part of a play; one of the principal
          divisions of a play or dramatic work in which a
          certain definite part of the action is completed.
      (d) A thesis maintained in public, in some English
          universities, by a candidate for a degree, or to show
          the proficiency of a student.
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   2. A state of reality or real existence as opposed to a
      possibility or possible existence. [Obs.]
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            The seeds of plants are not at first in act, but in
            possibility, what they afterward grow to be.
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   3. Process of doing; action. In act, in the very doing; on
      the point of (doing). "In act to shoot." --Dryden.
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            This woman was taken . . . in the very act. --John
                                                  viii. 4.
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   Act of attainder. (Law) See Attainder.

   Act of bankruptcy (Law), an act of a debtor which renders
      him liable to be adjudged a bankrupt.

   Act of faith. (Ch. Hist.) See Auto-da-F['e].

   Act of God (Law), an inevitable accident; such
      extraordinary interruption of the usual course of events
      as is not to be looked for in advance, and against which
      ordinary prudence could not guard.

   Act of grace, an expression often used to designate an act
      declaring pardon or amnesty to numerous offenders, as at
      the beginning of a new reign.

   Act of indemnity, a statute passed for the protection of
      those who have committed some illegal act subjecting them
      to penalties. --Abbott.

   Act in pais, a thing done out of court (anciently, in the
      country), and not a matter of record.
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   Syn: See Action.
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