ac·​tor | \ ˈak-tər How to pronounce actor (audio) also -ˌtȯr \

Definition of actor

1 : one that acts : doer
2a : one who acts in a play, movie, television show, etc.
b : one who behaves as if acting a part
3 : one that takes part in any affair : participant political actors

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Other Words from actor

actorish \ ˈak-​tə-​rish How to pronounce actor (audio) \ adjective
actorly \ ˈak-​tər-​lē How to pronounce actor (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for actor



  • nonactor
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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 The role earned Crawford an Emmy nomination for best supporting actor in 1959, at only 13 years old. Andrea Towers,, "Johnny Crawford, original Mouseketeer and Rifleman star, dies at 75," 30 Apr. 2021 The South Korean actor said it clearly for everyone watching and then noted how often it is mispronounced. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "Youn Yuh-jung Knows How to Win," 26 Apr. 2021 The Girard-Perregaux Laureato Skeleton watch ($35,500), however, didn’t bring home the Oscar for best actor for Ahmed, who was nominated for his powerful performance in Sound of Metal. Paige Reddinger, Robb Report, "From Riz Ahmed’s Girard-Perregaux to Daniel Kaluuya in Cartier: All the Best Watches at the Oscars," 26 Apr. 2021 Actor Joaquin Phoenix, who announced the award for best actor, was also a trending topic., "‘La La Land’ 2.0? Chadwick Boseman loses posthumous Oscar, leaving many confused," 26 Apr. 2021 For nearly 20 years, the 25 nominees for best actor, actress, and director receive a commercial cornucopia of products and vouchers for exotic trips and services from brands hoping for some celebrity media exposure. Anne Quito, Quartz, "There’s a Chadwick Boseman NFT card in the Oscar swag bag," 25 Apr. 2021 And also maybe it’s American hospitality for the Korean actor. NBC News, "Oscars 2021: Chloé Zhao, 'Nomadland' make history at wobbly Academy Awards," 25 Apr. 2021 The awards ceremony marks the first time two actors of Asian descent were nominated for best actor, the first time an all-black producing team was nominated for best picture, and the first time two women were nominated for best director. Carly Roman, Washington Examiner, "Los Angeles officials removed homeless from Union Station ahead of Oscars: Report," 25 Apr. 2021 Riz Ahmed, nominated for best actor in a leading role, trained in sign language and drumming for seven months before shooting began. John Jurgensen, WSJ, "Should You Watch the 2021 Oscars? A Skeptic’s Guide," 21 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'actor.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of actor

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for actor

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

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Time Traveler for actor

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for actor

Last Updated

4 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Actor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for actor



English Language Learners Definition of actor

: a person who acts in a play, movie, etc.


ac·​tor | \ ˈak-tər How to pronounce actor (audio) \

Kids Definition of actor

: a person who acts especially in a play or movie

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