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role

[rohl] /roʊl/
noun
1.
a part or character played by an actor or actress.
2.
proper or customary function:
the teacher's role in society.
3.
Sociology. the rights, obligations, and expected behavior patterns associated with a particular social status.
Also, rôle.
Origin
1600-1610
1600-10; < French rôle roll (as of paper) containing the actor's part
Related forms
multirole, adjective
Can be confused
role, roll.
Synonyms
2. capacity, position, responsibility, duty.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for role
  • The crisis has highlighted the importance of the government's role in regulating markets to make them function smoothly.
  • The amygdala plays a role in responding to threats, and it can kick off a fight-or-flight reaction when it senses danger.
  • That's because inconstant, perplexing clouds play a major role in climate change, both trapping heat and reflecting sunlight.
  • Despite their small individual size, microbes play a big role in the oceans-and the planet overall.
  • The rat has played a two-sided role in the history of human health.
  • Oligomer-linked diseases are relatively common, in part because oligomers can also play an essential biological role in the brain.
  • Chromium plays a dominant role in reacting with oxygen to form this corrosion product film.
  • But scientists have disputed their role in binding trace minerals.
  • The traditional role of a vice president for academic affairs is to promote and maintain a distinctive academic vision.
  • We think that the level of individual attention that was possible each weak played a bigger role, regardless of the final grade.
British Dictionary definitions for role

role

/rəʊl/
noun
1.
a part or character in a play, film, etc, to be played by an actor or actress
2.
(psychol) the part played by a person in a particular social setting, influenced by his expectation of what is appropriate
3.
usual or customary function: what is his role in the organization?
Word Origin
C17: from French rôleroll, an actor's script
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 role
n.

"part or character one takes," c.1600, from French rôle "part played by a person in life," literally "roll (of paper) on which an actor's part is written," from Old French rolle (see roll (n.)). Meaning "function performed characteristically by someone" is from 1875. In the social psychology sense from 1913. Role model first attested 1957.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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role in Medicine

role or rôle (rōl)
n.
The characteristic and expected social behavior of an individual.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Article for role

in sociology, the behaviour expected of an individual who occupies a given social position or status. A role is a comprehensive pattern of behaviour that is socially recognized, providing a means of identifying and placing an individual in a society. It also serves as a strategy for coping with recurrent situations and dealing with the roles of others (e.g., parent-child roles). The term, borrowed from theatrical usage, emphasizes the distinction between the actor and the part. A role remains relatively stable even though different people occupy the position: any individual assigned the role of physician, like any actor in the role of Hamlet, is expected to behave in a particular way. An individual may have a unique style, but this is exhibited within the boundaries of the expected behaviour.

Learn more about role with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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