[ rohl-pley-ing ]
/ ˈroʊlˌpleɪ ɪŋ /


a method of instruction or psychotherapy aimed at changing attitudes and behavior, in which participants act out designated roles relevant to real-life situations.
the modifying of a person's behavior to accord with a desired personal image, as to impress others or conform to a particular environment.

Origin of role-playing

First recorded in 1940–45

Definition for role-playing (2 of 2)


[ rohl-pley ]
/ ˈroʊlˌpleɪ /

verb (used with object)

to assume the attitudes, actions, and discourse of (another), especially in a make-believe situation in an effort to understand a differing point of view or social interaction: Management trainees were given a chance to role-play labor negotiators.
to experiment with or experience (a situation or viewpoint) by playing a role: trainees role-playing management positions.

verb (used without object)

to engage in role-playing.

Origin of role-play

First recorded in 1945–50 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for role-playing

British Dictionary definitions for role-playing



psychol activity in which a person imitates, consciously or unconsciously, a role uncharacteristic of himselfSee also psychodrama
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

Medicine definitions for role-playing (1 of 2)


[ rōlplā′ĭng ]


A psychotherapeutic technique, designed to reduce the conflict inherent in various social situations, in which participants act out particular behavioral roles in order to expand their awareness of differing points of view.

Medicine definitions for role-playing (2 of 2)


[ rōlplā′ ]


To assume deliberately the part or role of; act out.


The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.