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 societyb : 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
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.
Recent Examples of role from the Web
President Trump, who is under investigation for possible obstruction of justice in the inquiry into Russia's role in the 2016 election, is one of only a few elected Republicans to publicly express doubts about the bill.
Child Focus Early Learning Programs has long been aware of the large role health plays in overall development.
Weiser’s sons, Brad, Warren and Doug Weiser, all went into hospitality, playing key roles in their father’s business, Continental Companies.
At the request of one of the authors, Glennon initially joined the team as a consultant, but his role quickly became much broader.
But variants in scores of genes known to play some role in autism can explain only about 20% of all cases.
Post-war guilt may play a role as Germany’s cure for its past becomes nearly as obsessive as the behavior that led to the disease in the first place.
A spokeswoman for the Division of Elections did not respond to a reporter’s question asking whether Gov. Christie, a Republican and friend of Trump’s, had any role in deciding whether to comply with the voter commission’s request.
That trade defined addition by subtraction: Stephenson’s lack of productivity and Clifford’s struggle to find him a role hung over the Hornets’ locker room.
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.
Origin and Etymology of role
French rôle, literally, roll, from Old French rolle
First Known Use: 1605See Words from the same year
ROLE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of role for English Language Learners
: 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 Defined for Kids
Definition of role for Students
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 : 1function 1 Anyone who volunteers for a special role on the trip gets extra credit … — Ann M. Martin, Baby-sitters' Winter Vacation
Medical Definition of role
: a socially prescribed pattern of behavior usually determined by an individual's status in a particular society
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up role? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).