role

noun
\ˈrōl \
variants: or less commonly rôle

Definition of role 

1a(1) : a character assigned or assumed had to take on the role of both father and mother

(2) : a socially expected behavior pattern usually determined by an individual's status in a particular society

b : a part played by an actor or singer

2 : a function or part performed especially in a particular operation or process played a major role in the negotiations

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Examples of role in a Sentence

He plays the role of the villain. She was given the starring role. I had a minor role in the play. After her husband left her, she had to take on the dual role of mother and father for her children. She likes to play the role of matchmaker with her friends. She challenged the traditional roles assigned to women. We'll switch roles this time, and you can wash the dishes while I dry them. It was a case of role reversal: the father stayed home with the children while the mother worked.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Along Nantucket’s bustling Main Street, shop owners and other residents greet a question about the role of State Police here with a blank stare. Todd Wallack, BostonGlobe.com, "For some State Police, it’s a posting in paradise," 14 July 2018 Once again, Melania Trump has stepped onto the international stage in the traditional role of first lady: an emissary of the American people, a symbol of our collective humanity - and a fashion mannequin of soft diplomacy. Robin Givhan, Houston Chronicle, "Nothing else Melania Trump wears will ever matter again," 13 July 2018 After the casting news was announced, many were quick to call out Johansson for taking on the role. refinery29.com, "Scarlett Johansson Withdraws From Rub Tug & Apologizes For "Insensitive" Remarks," 13 July 2018 The fine singers under Gerald Frantzen's direction include Katherine Petersen as Sylva, Jonathan Zeng as Edwin, Emma Sorenson as Stasi, and William Roberts in the comic role of Sylva's womanizing manager Boni. Albert Williams, Chicago Reader, "Love conquers all in The Csárdás Princess," 13 July 2018 The video drew millions of views and, in a time when harassment is frequently caught on video, raises familiar questions about the role of bystanders. Darcel Rockett, chicagotribune.com, "Familiar questions about ‘bystander effect’ arise after man berates woman for Puerto Rico shirt," 12 July 2018 Mekhai Lee, a Northwest School of the Arts graduate, turns up in that ensemble and the small role of Grady, Shug’s husband. Lawrence Toppman, charlotteobserver, "A deeper ‘Purple’ than we’ve seen reaches Charlotte via Broadway Lights," 12 July 2018 Measurements varied across the board, but researchers found that the thumb, index and middle fingers always played a role of high importance. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Did the Human Hand Evolve as a Lean Mean Bone-Smashing Machine?," 13 July 2018 Adam Sandler once again voice the role of Dracula, who decides to take a cruise with his pals, only to fall in love with the captain of the ship (Kathryn Hahn). Pamela Mcclintock, The Hollywood Reporter, "Box Office: 'Hotel Transylvania 3' Beats 'Skyscraper' in Thursday Previews," 13 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'role.' 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 role

1605, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

History and Etymology for role

French rôle, literally, roll, from Old French rolle

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Learn More about role

Dictionary Entries near role

roky

rolamite

Roland

role

role model

roleo

role-play

Statistics for role

Last Updated

8 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for role

The first known use of role was in 1605

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More Definitions for role

role

noun

English Language Learners Definition of role

: the character played by an actor

: a part that someone or something has in a particular activity or situation

: the part that someone has in a family, society, or other group

role

noun
\ˈrōl \

Kids Definition of role

1 : a character assigned or taken on Switching roles, the children cared for their mother.

2 : a part played by an actor or singer

3 : function entry 1 sense 1 Anyone who volunteers for a special role on the trip gets extra credit …— Ann M. Martin, Baby-sitters' Winter Vacation

role

noun
variants: also rôle \ˈrōl \

Medical Definition of role 

: a socially prescribed pattern of behavior usually determined by an individual's status in a particular society

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Comments on role

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