ac·​tor ˈak-tər How to pronounce actor (audio)
 also  -ˌtȯr
: one that acts : doer
: one who acts in a play, movie, television show, etc.
: one who behaves as if acting a part
: one that takes part in any affair : participant
political actors
actorish adjective
actorly adjective

Examples of actor in a Sentence

my sister went to drama school to become an actor Benjamin Franklin was a major actor in many of the events leading up to the founding of our nation.
Recent Examples on the Web At opposite ends of the career spectrum, retired actor Brigitte Lin and 12-year-old Audrey Lin received the evening’s biggest cheers. Patrick Frater, Variety, 25 Nov. 2023 Since moving on with different partners, the 51-year-old Oscar-winning actor and 46-year-old Coldplay frontman have remained on good terms, with Paltrow getting along famously with Martin's girlfriend Dakota Johnson. Emily Tannenbaum, Glamour, 25 Nov. 2023 The Richard Harris Award, named after the late star, recognizes an outstanding contribution by an actor to British film and sees Graham join a list of fellow honorees that includes the likes off Judi Dench, Daniel Day-Lewis, Emma Thompson, Vanessa Redgrave and Riz Ahmed. Alex Ritman, The Hollywood Reporter, 24 Nov. 2023 But at Mayer’s urging, the human scale of the show has been expanded, with additional actors recruited to play ancillary crew members. Peter Marks, Washington Post, 24 Nov. 2023 Maybe, but then there were reminders that, in our sad present, studios were making complex digital scans of background performers and digitizing dead actors. Ian Crouch, The New Yorker, 24 Nov. 2023 Jonathan Frakes has enjoyed a long and fruitful Hollywood career as an actor and director, most notably in the Star Trek franchise, but even more enviable is his nearly four-decade relationship with his wife, daytime drama icon Genie Francis. Scott Huver, Peoplemag, 24 Nov. 2023 But to have that film be about a French legend — even one whom many detest — played by an American actor and directed by a British filmmaker? L’horreur. Catherine Porter, New York Times, 24 Nov. 2023 The New York Post reported that the actor called for a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, which has been under siege and bombarded by Israeli forces since the Hamas terrorist attack in Israel on Oct. 7. NBC News, 23 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'actor.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English actour "doer, pleader," borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, borrowed from Latin āctor, from agere "to drive (cattle), cause to move, do" + -tor, agent suffix — more at agent

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of actor was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near actor

Cite this Entry

“Actor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


ac·​tor ˈak-tər How to pronounce actor (audio)
: one that acts
especially : a person who acts especially in a play or movie or on television

More from Merriam-Webster on actor

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