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

In July, the ensemble received four Emmy nominations: comedy series, lead actress (for O’Hara), lead actor (for Eugene), and contemporary costume design (for costume designer Debra Hanson and assistant costume designer Darci Cheyne). Nick Romano,, "Oh Schitt! Schitt's Creek season 5 hits Netflix in October," 10 Sep. 2019 Honey Boy stars LaBeouf as the father of a young actor, played by 12-year-old Noah Jupe and 22-year-old Lucas Hedges at different ages. Helen Murphy,, "Shia LaBeouf Says His Parents Had a 'Tough' Time Watching Autobiographical Film Honey Boy," 10 Sep. 2019 Will Joaquin Phoenix become the second actor, after Heath Ledger, to win an Oscar for playing the character? Wired, "It Chapter Two Ruled the Box Office This Weekend," 9 Sep. 2019 So Cherry Creek Theatre made the smart move and secured the services of Chris Kendall, one of the area’s finest actors, for the role of Morrie. Lisa Kennedy, The Know, "From Steve Martin’s “Bright Star” to Cheryl Strayed’s “Tiny Beautiful Things,” 10 must-see fall plays in Colorado," 8 Sep. 2019 But the actor, who died on Aug. 30 at 80, will be remembered most for her irresistible performance as Rhoda Morgenstern, the mouthy, vivacious neighbor of television’s original single career girl, Mary Richards. Judy Berman, Time, "How Valerie Harper Paved the Way for Today's Sitcom Women," 5 Sep. 2019 Though the capital city’s population is about 79% black and Latinx, the majority of actors, dancers and musicians performing on the city’s stages are white., "Sept. 5, 2019: Movin’ and groovin’ into the second half of the week," 5 Sep. 2019 The filing from the Democrats noted poll results showing that many Americans believe the justices are political actors, which undermines the legitimacy of their decisions. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "Republican senators just sent the US Supreme Court a strange letter," 30 Aug. 2019 All actors, excluding Kennedy and Akin, appear through the courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association. Emily Sorensen, Pomerado News, "‘Amadeus’ opens Sept. 7 at North Coast Repertory Theatre," 28 Aug. 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

17 Sep 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

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).


to make a temporary encampment

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