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

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.

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First Known Use of dramatis personae

1730, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dramatis personae

New Latin

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The first known use of dramatis personae was in 1730

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dramatis personae


English Language Learners Definition of dramatis personae

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

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an enemy or opponent

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