American English

Definition of role noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1the function or position that someone has or is expected to have in an organization, in society, or in a relationship the role of the teacher in the classroom She refused to take on the traditional woman's role. In many marriages there has been a complete role reversal (= change of roles) with the man staying at home and the woman going out to work.
  2. 2an actor's part in a play, movie, etc. It is one of the greatest roles she has played. Who is in the lead role? (= the most important one)
  3. 3the degree to which someone or something is involved in a situation or an activity and the effect that they have on it the role of diet in preventing disease The media plays a major role in influencing people's opinions. a key/vital role
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: role