role

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have a role in (something)

1. To have a specific involvement or participation in something. There's no use lying to the committee, Mr. Marshall, as we know for a fact that you had a role in hiding your company's losses from its investors.
2. Literally, to have a job portraying a certain character in a performance. I hear that Samantha has a role in some new film. She's really making her way into the big leagues!
See also: have, role

play a big role (in something)

To have an extremely important or fundamental role (in some resultant situation, action, event, outcome, etc.). There were a lot of reason why I quit, but having to work 10 hours a day played a big role. Punk rock played a big role in forming my aesthetic sensibilities. The rookie quarterback ended up playing a big role in the team's amazing comeback victory yesterday.
See also: big, play, role

play a bit role (in something)

1. Literally, to act out a very small, inconsequential role (in some piece of drama, film, or television). I originally started off playing a bit role in the sitcom, but over the years the character became wildly popular and really launched my career. A: "I heard you're in the latest Schwarzenegger movie, right?" B: "Yeah, I'm just playing a bit role, though."
2. By extension, to have a very small, inconsequential role (in some resultant situation, action, event, outcome, etc.). I know you feel like you only played a bit role in our victory today, but you were just as important out there as everyone else on the team. A: "I suppose those long, 12-hour days were why you quit, huh?" B: "Actually, those only played a bit role—it was mostly just because I hated my boss."
See also: bit, play, role

play a large role (in something)

To have an extremely important or fundamental role (in some resultant situation, action, event, outcome, etc.). There were a lot of reason why I quit, but having to work 10 hours a day played a large role. Punk rock played a large role in forming my aesthetic sensibilities. The rookie quarterback ended up playing a large role in the team's amazing comeback victory yesterday.
See also: large, play, role

play a role in (something)

1. To have a specific involvement or participation in something. There's no use lying to the committee, Mr. Marshall, as we know for a fact that you played a role in hiding your company's losses from its investors.
2. Literally, to have a job portraying a certain character in a performance. I hear that Samantha is playing a role in some new film. She's really making her way into the big leagues!
See also: play, role

play a small role (in something)

1. Literally, to act out a very small, inconsequential role (in some piece of drama, film, or television). I originally started off playing a small role in the sitcom, but over the years the character became wildly popular and really launched my career. A: "I heard you're in the latest Schwarzenegger movie, right?" B: "Yeah, I'm just playing a small role, though."
2. By extension, to have a very small, inconsequential role (in some resultant situation, action, event, outcome, etc.). I know you feel like you only played a small role in our victory today, but you were just as important out there as everyone else on the team. A: "I suppose those long, 12-hour days were why you quit, huh?" B: "Actually, those only played a small role—it was mostly just because I hated my boss."
See also: play, role, small
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

play a part in something

 and play a role in something 
1. to participate in something in a specific way. I hope to play a part in the development of the new product. I want to play a role in this procedure.
2. to portray a character in a performance. He played a part in The Mikado, but it was not a major role. Larry wanted to play a role in the next play.
See also: part, play
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

role model

An individual whose behavior serves as an exemplar to others. This expression, dating from the second half of the 1900s, alludes to acting out parts in a theatrical production. It appeared in the New York Times Magazine (June 26, 1977): “If the teacher was a ‘role model’ parents were obviously unaware of it.”
See also: model, role
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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