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noun \ˈrōl\

Simple Definition of role

  • : the character played by an actor

  • : a part that someone or something has in a particular activity or situation

  • : the part that someone has in a family, society, or other group

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of role

  1. 1 a (1) :  a character assigned or assumed <had to take on the role of both father and mother> (2) :  a socially expected behavior pattern usually determined by an individual's status in a particular society b :  a part played by an actor or singer

  2. 2 :  a function or part performed especially in a particular operation or process <played a major role in the negotiations>

Examples of role in a sentence

  1. He plays the role of the villain.

  2. She was given the starring role.

  3. I had a minor role in the play.

  4. After her husband left her, she had to take on the dual role of mother and father for her children.

  5. She likes to play the role of matchmaker with her friends.

  6. She challenged the traditional roles assigned to women.

  7. We'll switch roles this time, and you can wash the dishes while I dry them.

  8. It was a case of role reversal: the father stayed home with the children while the mother worked.

Variants of role

also rôle play \ˈrōl\

Origin of role

French rôle, literally, roll, from Old French rolle

First Known Use: 1605

ROLE Defined for Kids


noun \ˈrōl\

Definition of role for Students

  1. 1 :  a character assigned or taken on <Switching roles, the children cared for their mother.>

  2. 2 :  a part played by an actor or singer

  3. 3 :  1function 1 <Anyone who volunteers for a special role on the trip gets extra credit … — Ann M. Martin, Baby-sitters' Winter Vacation>

Medical Dictionary



Medical Definition of role

  1. :  a socially prescribed pattern of behavior usually determined by an individual's status in a particular society

Variants of role

also rôle \ˈrōl\play

Seen and Heard

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deserving imitation because of excellence

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