dramatis personae

dramatis personae

[dram-uh-tis per-soh-nee, drah-muh-]
(used with a plural verb) the characters in a play.
(used with a singular verb) a list of the characters preceding the text of a play.

1720–30; < Latin: characters of the play

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World English Dictionary
dramatis personae (ˈdrɑːmətɪs pəˈsəʊnaɪ)
pl n
1.  the characters or a list of characters in a play or story
2.  the main personalities in any situation or event
[C18: from New Latin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

dramatis personae
Latin for "persons of a drama."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
dramatis personae [(dram-uh-tis puhr-soh-nee, drah-muh-tis puhr-soh-neye)]

A Latin expression for “cast of characters.” It means literally “the persons of the drama” and is occasionally used at the beginning of scripts for plays as the title of the list of characters.

Note: In general, the “dramatis personae” are the participants in an event: “Winston Churchill, Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin were the dramatis personae at the Yalta Conference.”
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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