a person who in stage plays, motion pictures, television broadcasts, etc.
a person who does something; participant.
a brother of King Augeas, sometimes believed to be the father, by Molione, of Eurytus and Cteatus.
Contemporary Examples

In the end, they went with the other actor because I was a double threat, Hispanic and disabled.
Auti Angel, Star of ‘Musical Chairs,’ on Being Disabled in Hollywood Auti Angel March 23, 2012

I remember a specific time in my early-to-mid teens in a cinema where I believed being an actor was a very noble thing.
Tom Hiddleston On His Rocker-Vampire in ‘Only Lovers Left Alive,’ ‘Thor 2,’ and ‘Avengers 2’ Marlow Stern September 6, 2013

Stephen Collins is just an actor, of course, and no one should confuse him with a character he played on TV.
‘7th Heaven’ Dad Stephen Collins and the Christian Right’s Real Morality Tale Amanda Marcotte October 7, 2014

In rarer cases, if I may chance a misinterpreted mashup of my own, one can scratch an actress and find an actor.
Ellen Barkin on ‘Another Happy Day,’ Sam Levinson, and Being a ‘Broad’ Kevin Sessums November 15, 2011

Egan said he had grown up in the Midwest, aspiring to be an actor.
‘I Considered Suicide,’ Alleged Sex Abuse Victim of Bryan Singer Tells The Daily Beast Tim Teeman April 17, 2014

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.
The Outdoor Girls on Pine Island Laura Lee Hope

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.
The Works of William Cowper William Cowper

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)

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.


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
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.

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