dramatis personae

plural noun
dra·​ma·​tis per·​so·​nae | \ ˌdra-mə-təs-pər-ˈsō-(ˌ)nē How to pronounce dramatis personae (audio) , ˌdrä-, -ˌnī\

Definition of dramatis personae

1 : the characters or actors in a drama
2 singular in construction : a list of the characters or actors in a drama
3 : people who figure prominently in something (such as an event)

Examples of dramatis personae in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Among Murdoch-watchers, the dramatis personae of Succession isn’t hard to connect to their opposite numbers in the family. Ben Widdicombe, Town & Country, "Confirmed: Yes, Rupert Murdoch's Family Enjoys Watching "Succession"," 8 Apr. 2019 Like One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gateway to the Moon begins with a dramatis personae that lays out a family tree. Joe Fassler, The Atlantic, "How Gabriel García Márquez Created a World in a Sentence," 24 Apr. 2018 The dramatis personae of this investigation are thus numerous, high-profile, monied and multi-national. Nick Hewlett, The New Republic, "Nicolas Sarkozy and the Weakness of Liberal Democracy," 27 Mar. 2018 The dramatis personae is rounded out by Mary Bennett (Naian González Norvind), a young actress new to this insular world. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: ‘Illyria’ Eavesdrops on a Young Joe Papp and Friends," 30 Oct. 2017

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

See More

First Known Use of dramatis personae

1730, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dramatis personae

New Latin

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about dramatis personae

Statistics for dramatis personae

Last Updated

19 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dramatis personae

The first known use of dramatis personae was in 1730

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for dramatis personae

dramatis personae


English Language Learners Definition of dramatis personae

formal : the characters or actors in a play, movie, etc.

More from Merriam-Webster on dramatis personae

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dramatis personae

Comments on dramatis personae

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


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!