What Does Act Your Age Mean?

Act Your Age Meaning

Definition: Behave in a mature way; don’t act younger than you are.

Origin of Act Your Age

This expression originated around the mid 1900s. It is unclear exactly where it was first used.

However, the idea behind it is based on a literal meaning. If a thirty-year-old man is acting foolish, as a child would, someone might tell him to act like an adult.

Examples of Act Your Age

meaning of act your ageHere is an example of two family members discussing the granddaughter’s bad decision.

Grandmother: Where have you been? Do you know what time it is? You are hours late!

Granddaughter: I’m sorry! I didn’t realize you’d still be awake and waiting for me to come home.

Grandmother: Of course I’m waiting for you. I needed to make sure you got home safely. Where were you?

Granddaughter: I was just spending some time alone. I was thinking in the woods.

Grandmother: What’s the matter with you? The woods are dangerous at night. Someone could have kidnapped you. You are old enough to know better than that. Act your age!

Granddaughter: I’m old enough to stay out late!

Grandmother: You’re old enough to know not to do dangerous things for no reason. Be more responsible and considerate.

acting your age meaningThe second dialogue shows a daughter and her father discussing the father’s silly behavior at a school basketball game.

Father: Hey! Look at me. I’m breakdancing!

Daughter: Dad! You have to stop that!

Father: Why? Breakdancing is cool!

Daughter: Breakdancing is cool, but whatever it is that you are doing right now is not breakdancing. Stop trying to breakdance. You’re embarrassing me!

Father: I don’t know what you’re talking about. Look! All your friends are watching me. They are jealous of me!

Daughter: They pity you because of how much you are embarrassing yourself. Please act your age. Dads are supposed to be serious and mature.

More Examples

The excerpt below is about a musician who was trying to act younger than he was, until he met another singer.

  • On how meeting Avril Lavigne helped Walker act his age: “When I met her, she was very sincere in acting her age. –LA Times

This excerpt is from a review of a concert. The reviewer believes that the singer acted too young and innocent at the beginning of the concert but more experienced and powerful in the middle and end of the concert.

  • Perhaps it was the knowledge that her surprise guests were soon to appear. Or maybe it was the sparkly hot pants (with matching stiletto heels) she’d just changed into. It might simply have been that bedtime had arrived for her youngest fans, leaving her free to act her age. –LA Times


The phrase to act one’s age means to act in a mature manner.