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

But Foy isn't the only Queen at tonight's Golden Globe Awards: Olivia Colman, who is taking over the role of Queen Elizabeth next season on The Crown, also made an appearance on the Globes red carpet. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "Claire Foy and Olivia Colman Are Queens of the Golden Globe Red Carpet," 6 Jan. 2019 Emily Blunt will reprise Julie Andrews's iconic role as the charming nanny. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Dick Van Dyke Paid Walt Disney $4K for a Part in the Original 'Mary Poppins'," 26 Nov. 2018 The property has stayed with the same family since the 1940s, and has played the role of a restaurant, wedding venue, and event space over the generations. Maggie Burch, House Beautiful, "This Sprawling House In Texas Now Houses A Gorgeous Restaurant," 20 Nov. 2018 Return to the Stars, a tabletop game and online zine billed as an optimistic hopepunk sci-fi role-playing game, featured a popular essay by Rowland herself on hopepunk as a method of resistance. Aja Romano, Vox, "In the era of Trump and apocalyptic change, Hopepunk is a storytelling template for #resistance — and hanging onto your humanity at all costs.," 27 Dec. 2018 More than a decade after Kingdom Hearts II, the sequel looks to make the role-playing series’ story even more complex by introducing Disney worlds like Frozen and Toy Story. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "The 40 games we can’t wait to play in 2019," 26 Dec. 2018 Research on estrangement is sparse, but a 2015 Stand Alone-Cambridge study found emotional abuse, clashes of personality and values, and mismatched expectations about family roles and the relationship are common contributing factors. Ashley Edwards Walker, Good Housekeeping, "Modern Estrangement: What Does It Mean to Be Estranged, Anyway?," 21 Dec. 2018 In Roll Player, which first appeared in 2016, players create a character for use in a role-playing game, complete with an alignment, a back story, and stats like Charisma and Strength. Nate Anderson, Ars Technica, "Eight great board games we played at PAX Unplugged," 8 Dec. 2018 The need for a larger bathroom may have sparked this ambitious remodel, but the kitchen also played a defining role. Nick Sullivan, ELLE Decor, "A Snug New York Bachelor Pad Is Morphed Into a Swank and Spacious Home," 20 Nov. 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

15 Jan 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 \

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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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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