dramatis personae

[dram-uh-tis per-soh-nee, drah-muh-]


(used with a plural verb) the characters in a play.
(used with a singular verb) a list of the characters preceding the text of a play.

Origin of dramatis personae

1720–30; < Latin: characters of the play
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for dramatis personae

troupe, list, company, parts, characters

British Dictionary definitions for dramatis personae

dramatis personae

pl n (often functioning as singular)

the characters or a list of characters in a play or story
the main personalities in any situation or event

Word Origin for dramatis personae

C18: from New Latin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for dramatis personae

Latin for "persons of a drama."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

dramatis personae in Culture

dramatis personae

[(dram-uh-tis puhr-soh-nee, drah-muh-tis puhr-soh-neye)]

A Latin expression for “cast of characters.” It means literally “the persons of the drama” and is occasionally used at the beginning of scripts for plays as the title of the list of characters.


In general, the “dramatis personae” are the participants in an event: “Winston Churchill, Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin were the dramatis personae at the Yalta Conference.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.