1. A person who behaves in the manner of a character, usually by reciting scripted dialogue, in order to entertain an audience, especially in a play, movie, or television show.
2. One who takes part; a participant: "France, Britain ... and any other external actors now involved ... in the affairs of the continent" (Helen Kitchen).
a. One, such as the manager of a business, who acts for another.
b. In civil law, the plaintiff in an action.
[Middle English actour, doer, probably from Latin āctor, from āctus, past participle of agere, to drive, do; see ag- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus