[ 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

Word Origin and History for roleplay



also role-play, 1958; from role (n.) + play (v.). As a verb by 1961. Related: Role-playing

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for roleplay


[ 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.