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role (n.)

c. 1600, "part or character one takes," 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.)). Not originally in English with direct reference to actors and the stage, but figurative of them. The meaning "any conspicuous function performed characteristically by someone" is by 1875. In the social psychology sense is from 1913. Role model, one taken by others as a model in performance of some role, is attested by 1957.

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Definitions of role from WordNet

role (n.)
the actions and activities assigned to or required or expected of a person or group;
play its role
Synonyms: function / office / part
role (n.)
an actor's portrayal of someone in a play;
Synonyms: character / theatrical role / part / persona
role (n.)
what something is used for;
Synonyms: function / purpose / use
role (n.)
normal or customary activity of a person in a particular social setting;
what is your role on the team?
From wordnet.princeton.edu