• synonyms


or rôle

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  1. a part or character played by an actor or actress.
  2. proper or customary function: the teacher's role in society.
  3. Sociology. the rights, obligations, and expected behavior patterns associated with a particular social status.
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Origin of role

1600–10; < French rôle roll (as of paper) containing the actor's part
Related formsmul·ti·role, adjective
Can be confusedrole roll

Synonyms for role

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for role

appearance, act, character, part, aspect, portrayal, performance, task, business, job, position, post, show, player, hero, clothing, stint, lead, title, extra

Examples from the Web for role

Contemporary Examples of role

Historical Examples of role

  • At forty if a man chooses to assume the role of Orlando he does it to perfection.


    W. A. Fraser

  • Perhaps in desperation you may assume the role of cook yourself.

    A Woman Tenderfoot

    Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson

  • They have made the prelude, and the importance of their role has passed.

    The Rock of Chickamauga

    Joseph A. Altsheler

  • His role was that of the deeply respectful "brother artist."

  • If he had learned his role by heart, he could not have played it better.

British Dictionary definitions for role



  1. a part or character in a play, film, etc, to be played by an actor or actress
  2. psychol the part played by a person in a particular social setting, influenced by his expectation of what is appropriate
  3. usual or customary functionwhat is his role in the organization?
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Word Origin for role

C17: from French rôle roll, an actor's script
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 role


"part or character one takes," c.1600, from French rôle "part played by a person in life," literally "roll (of paper) on which an actor's part is written," from Old French rolle (see roll (n.)). Meaning "function performed characteristically by someone" is from 1875. In the social psychology sense from 1913. Role model first attested 1957.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

role in Medicine


  1. The characteristic and expected social behavior of an individual.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.