Free action

From IFWiki

An action that takes up no time in the game world (as distinct from a meta-command, which takes up no time but is not an action). A candidate might be the command think about <topic>, assuming the PC is simply recalling known information. Typically, they are used sparsely and have little effect on game-states.

For a discussion on this issue on the newsgroup, see the thread What is a meta-command ?