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« Prendre note de » means "take note of", and these meanings are obvious. Students, journalists, investigators manually take notes of what they notice, and to help them remember what they notice!

prendre note de
verb

take note of to notice and remember

But why on earth does « prendre ACTE de » almost mean the same as « prendre NOTE de »? In South African English, "take act of" isn't grammatical! But "take note of" is! And what does it even to mean to "take act of"???

Prendre acte, faire constater en justice ; déclarer qu'on prend note de quelque chose pour s'en prévaloir éventuellement.

Définition

Constater un fait, spécialement une déclaration d'une partie au cours d'un procès.

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  • A good example that one shouldn't translate idiomatic expressions literally or word-by-word.
    – Roger V.
    Sep 13, 2022 at 8:38

1 Answer 1

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Acte has not one of its usual meanings here but its legalese one which is also found in the expression dont acte.

English "act" shares the same one, #7 in the MWD:

"a formal record of something done or transacted".

Prendre acte is stronger than prendre note. It suggests (usually as a metaphor) that some legal action might follow.

Compare:

J'en prends note: I take note of it.

and

J'en prends acte: Point taken. Literally: "I take a transcript of it".
Dont acte: Same meaning.

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