ac·tor | \ ˈak-tər 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 \-tə-rish \ adjective
actorly \-tər-lē \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for actor


partaker, participant, participator, party, player, sharer



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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 leadership of both FCA and the union have denied the case was indicative of widespread corruption, saying it was instead limited to a few bad actors. Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press, "Widow of UAW VP Holiefield gets 18 months in federal corruption case," 13 July 2018 But there are also bad actors that can abuse the platform so the integrity team is focused on identifying problematic content. Bree Tracey, Fox News, "How under-fire Facebook is bolstering its battle against fake news," 12 July 2018 Who for this week’s cover story, hanging out with Whittaker and the trio of actors who are playing the Doctor’s new companions: Bradley Walsh, Mandip Gill, and Tosin Cole. Clark Collis,, "Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker is simply 'brilliant' on the cover of EW's Comic-Con preview issue," 12 July 2018 The TheaterWorks production also features three of the same actors who did the play in Pittsburgh two years ago, plus several of the same designers. Christopher Arnott,, "'Hand To God': Hanging Out With An Unhinged, Satanical Hand Puppet At Theaterworks," 12 July 2018 On July 2, Jessica posted a Day 1 production photo to her Instagram, showing the core cast of actors goofing around during a table read. Allie Gemmill, Teen Vogue, ""It: Chapter 2" Adds New Cast Member Taylor Frey as Gay Character Don Hagerty," 11 July 2018 Director Michael Stevenson, who is Capital Stage’s producing artistic director, has assembled a talented quartet of actors who shine with comic timing, pregnant pauses and at times startling physical humor. Mitchel Benson, sacbee, "‘Thanksgiving Play’ gone off the rails? That’s the genius in Capital Stage's comedy," 5 July 2018 All three of those cisgender actors have won accolades and awards for playing transgender characters on TV and in film—though Tambor, at least, has expressed regret for playing a part that could have gone to an actual transgender woman. Emma Stefansky, HWD, "Scarlett Johansson Under Fire for Playing a Trans Man in Her Next Movie," 5 July 2018 Ever-more granular data collection has become the base condition of using today’s internet, and there’s no end to the number of shadowy actors willing to trade on it. Jacob Silverman, Longreads, "Private Telegram, Public Strife," 3 July 2018

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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Phrases Related to actor

character actor

Statistics for actor

Last Updated

13 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for actor

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

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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 \

Kids Definition of actor

: a person who acts especially in a play or movie

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Comments on actor

What made you want to look up actor? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


occurring twice a year or every two years

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