role

noun
\ ˈrōl How to pronounce role (audio) \
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

Dave VanderWerp has spent more than 15 years in the automotive industry, in varied roles from engineering to product consulting, and now leading Car and Driver's vehicle-testing efforts. Dave Vanderwerp, Car and Driver, "Dave VanderWerp," 14 May 2019 Seabird experts wonder if toxins played a role in recent seabird deaths by affecting their ability to forage. Dan Joling, The Seattle Times, "Pace of Bering Sea changes startles scientists," 16 Apr. 2019 But his relationships with other powerful people may also have played a key role. Jane Coaston, Vox, "Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted sex offender who is friends with Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, explained," 22 Feb. 2019 In March, the United Nations said Facebook had played a role in inciting violence against the minority Rohingya Muslim population. Casey Newton, The Verge, "The Verge 2018 tech report card: Facebook," 26 Dec. 2018 The role is no doubt dangerous, but some viewers didn't give Bran much credit for his work. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "People Are Dragging Bran for Not Participating in the Battle of Winterfell on Game of Thrones," 29 Apr. 2019 This role would be analogous to most large companies’ Chief Technology Officer. Heather Wilson, Popular Mechanics, "Op-Ed: USAF Secretary on the Future of Science and Tech in the Air Force," 18 Apr. 2019 The role of Highlander in African-American community organizing is hard to overstate. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "A Fire at the Highlander Center Won’t Stop this Legendary Civil Rights Movement Training Organization," 10 Apr. 2019 Camilla is not as often on the front page as Charles's sons and their wives, but her role is one day destined to become more prominent. Victoria Murphy, Town & Country, "Why Camilla Will Be Key to Prince Charles's Reign," 6 Apr. 2019

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

21 May 2019

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 How to pronounce role (audio) \

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 How to pronounce rôle (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on role

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with role

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for role

Spanish Central: Translation of role

Nglish: Translation of role for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of role for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about role

Comments on role

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