What's the meaning of the phrase 'Action man'?
A dynamic, macho type of man.
What's the origin of the phrase 'Action man'?
Action Man toys were marketed by the UK company Palitoy from 1966 until 1984. They were male dolls with movable features and dressed in British Army-style clothes. The dolls were based on the US Hasbro toy company's GI Joe.
The term 'action man' had been in use well before the dolls were introduced. In 1943 the California newspaper, the Fresno Bee Republican, ran a piece about a record-breaking cow:
"Maybe Dinah [the cow - having impressed the journalist by producing 17 times her own weight in milk] and her owner ... have caught some of the 'miracle production' philosophy of Henry J. Kaiser, the famous ship building action man of that state."