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

Synonyms & Antonyms for actor


impersonator, mummer, player, thesp, thespian, trouper



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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

When his career began, actors delivered their lines at the front of the stage facing the audience, and doors and windows were painted on backdrops. Andrew Katzenstein, Harper's magazine, "The Radical Conservative," 16 Sep. 2019 And their histrionic mother Shelly (Judith Light) has embraced life as an amateur actor. Robyn Bahr, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Transparent: Musicale Finale': TV Review," 16 Sep. 2019 As an actor and overall performer, Jennifer Lopez has always been charming. Mark Olsenstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Indie Focus: ‘Hustlers’ takes the stage," 13 Sep. 2019 Fiennes has never been anything less than fascinating as an actor. Bill Goodykoontz, Detroit Free Press, "‘Official Secrets’ revisits an Iraq war drama that rocked Britain," 12 Sep. 2019 As an actor and overall performer, Jennifer Lopez has always been charming. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Hustlers Proves Jennifer Lopez Has Been This Great All Along," 12 Sep. 2019 Actually, as Collazo tells the story, the strictness of her parents set her up well as an actor from a language perspective. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee Repertory Theater's 'West Side Story' spotlights Puerto Rican culture," 12 Sep. 2019 Solo show about mental illness featuring actor Shannon Emerick. Houston Chronicle, "Stagelist: What’s on Houston stages this week," 12 Sep. 2019 This birthday celebrity's exceptional career spans decades, with 99 credits as an actor and voice-over artist. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for Sept. 2, 2019: Happy birthday Keanu Reeves; Capricorn, time to try something new," 2 Sep. 2019

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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Statistics for actor

Last Updated

11 Oct 2019

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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 How to pronounce actor (audio) \

Kids Definition of actor

: a person who acts especially in a play or movie

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More from Merriam-Webster on actor

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with actor

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for actor

Spanish Central: Translation of actor

Nglish: Translation of actor for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of actor for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about actor

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transposition of initial sounds of words

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