Definition: Actor

From New World Encyclopedia


From Middle English actour, from Anglo-Norman actor, Middle French actor, and their source, Latin āctor (doer), from agō (to do). Equivalent to act + -or. Cognate with Ancient Greek ἄκτωρ or áktōr, (leader), from ἄγω or ágō (lead, carry, convey, bring).


actor (plural actors, feminine actress)

  1. Someone or something that takes part in some action; a doer, an agent.
  2. A person who acts a part in a theatrical play or (later) in film or television; a dramatic performer.
  3. (grammar) The subject performing the action of a verb.
  4. (software engineering) The entity that performs a role (in use case analysis).

Usage notes

In the sense of a person who acts in a play or film, the traditional sense of the word only applied to male actors, the term actress being used for the female counterpart.

Derived terms

  • character actor
  • method actor
  • play-actor
  • supporting actor
  • voice actor

Related terms


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