dramatis personae

plural noun

dra·​ma·​tis per·​so·​nae ˌdra-mə-təs-pər-ˈsō-(ˌ)nē How to pronounce dramatis personae (audio)
: the characters or actors in a drama
singular in construction : a list of the characters or actors in a drama
: people who figure prominently in something (such as an event)

Examples of dramatis personae in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web And Jones too often clutters up scenes with body doubles mimicking motions of the dramatis personae. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, 4 Aug. 2023 Compounding the uneasiness, the ensemble introduces the dramatis personae in strokes that can seem unnecessarily broad. Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times, 2 May 2023 The dramatis personae at the empty tomb are represented in recitatives and a long soprano aria. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, 1 May 2023 The war that ensues between her and the rest of the dramatis personae might then have given the second act higher and sharper stakes. Zachary Woolfe, New York Times, 20 Feb. 2023 Only occasionally did the dramatis personae, singing from scores on stands, even glance at each other. Dallas News, 28 Feb. 2022 If this roster of dramatis personae is hurting your brain, then the effect is probably intended, because not one of the characters is psychologically well. Graeme Wood, The Atlantic, 5 Dec. 2022 What the evening lacked was theatrical electricity from, and among, the dramatis personae. Dallas News, 10 Oct. 2022 The chapters on the quantitative revolution in professional sports scouting and gambling are more lively, with more loving attention to the dramatis personae. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 26 Nov. 2012 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dramatis personae.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


New Latin

First Known Use

1730, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of dramatis personae was in 1730

Dictionary Entries Near dramatis personae

Cite this Entry

“Dramatis personae.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dramatis%20personae. Accessed 1 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition

dramatis personae

noun plural
dra·​ma·​tis per·​so·​nae ˌdram-ət-əs-pər-ˈsō-(ˌ)nē How to pronounce dramatis personae (audio)
: the characters or actors in a play

modern Latin

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