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[ak-ter] /ˈæk tər/
a person who acts in stage plays, motion pictures, television broadcasts, etc.
a person who does something; participant.
Origin of actor
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin āctor, equivalent to āg- (see act) + -tor -tor
Related forms
nonactor, noun


[ak-ter] /ˈæk tər/
noun, Classical Mythology
a brother of King Augeas, sometimes believed to be the father, by Molione, of Eurytus and Cteatus.
Compare Moliones. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for actor
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The actor should not stare straight into the faces of the audience, but look between them.

    The N Plays of Japan Arthur Waley
  • All these actor cheps know it, so of course 'e'd 'a' known abaht it, too.

    The Foolish Lovers St. John G. Ervine
  • Con and I don't feel like going home just yet, and Mrs. Irving has elected to be audience instead of actor.

  • Could anything be more dull than the life of an actor in a repertory theatre?

    The Foolish Lovers St. John G. Ervine
  • But no matter for that; the spectator at a play is more entertained than the actor; and in real life it is much the same.

British Dictionary definitions for actor


a person who acts in a play, film, broadcast, etc
(informal) a person who puts on a false manner in order to deceive others (often in the phrase bad actor)
Usage note
The term actor is almost universally used nowadays to refer to people of either gender who act
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for actor

late 14c., "an overseer, guardian, steward," from Latin actor "an agent or doer," also "theatrical player," from past participle stem of agere (see act (n.)). Mid-15c. as "a doer, maker," also "a plaintiff." Sense of "one who performs in plays" is 1580s, originally applied to both men and women.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for actor



An athlete who is good at pretending he has been hurt or fouled; esp, a baseball player who very convincingly mimes the pain of being hit by a pitch

Related Terms

bad actor

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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actor in Technology
An object-oriented language for Microsoft Windows written by Charles Duff of the Whitewater Group ca. 1986. It has Pascal/C-like syntax. Uses a token-threaded interpreter. Early binding is an option.
["Actor Does More than Windows", E.R. Tello, Dr Dobb's J 13(1):114-125 (Jan 1988)].

1. In object-oriented programming, an object which exists as a concurrent process.
2. In Chorus, the unit of resource allocation.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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