personally it's easier for me to study words/phrases to understand the roots, but I have an interesting word that I can't figure out why it was derived from


Corner and Color... how did that become to mean someone's Role?

2 Answers 2



"脚色" /juésè/ is often written as "角色"/juésè/

演员根据[]本演绎各[]人物 - The actors play various characters according to the script.

脚本 = script

各色人物 = various characters

脚色/ 角色 = role


脚 = base

本 = script

As far as I know, 角色 is the more commonly used word for "role" than 脚色 for the general public

  • 主角 or 主脚? Here is a discussion about them. sohu.com/a/494294498_121080240
    – r13
    Commented Mar 8 at 20:31
  • It said: 最初, “脚色”与“角色”的意思是相同的 - I suppose 角色 is not a mistake for 脚色
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Mar 8 at 20:33
  • But your first quote says otherwise :)
    – r13
    Commented Mar 8 at 20:59
  • What's your take on this? chinanews.com.cn/hwjy/news/2010/03-23/2186104.shtml It seems to suggest that 脚色 predates 脚本. It does of course agree with you that 角色 is a later variant. Commented Mar 8 at 23:00
  • @StumpyJoePete Check out this article - "在这里,脚色与角色的意思就已经发生了变化,**“脚色”指的是戏剧行当**,是根据戏班演员的技艺工种进行区别的;**而“角色”则是指代剧中的各类任务形象**。例如著名的戏剧《张协状元》中,张协、贫女、汉元帝、王昭君等人物是角色,而扮演他们的“生”、“旦”、“末”则是“脚色”,一个“脚色”可以扮演很多“角色”,反之则不能。(sohu.com/a/494294498_121080240#)". Also, you shall check out the dictionary for the definition and usage of 脚(zdic.net/hans/%E8%84%9A) and 角(zdic.net/hans/%E8%84%9A)
    – r13
    Commented Mar 9 at 12:38

角 - 演员(actor) - 名角(famous actor).

色 - 种类(type) - 各色用品(Various types of supplies); 形形色色(all kinds).

角色 - 指演员在戏剧中所扮演的人物(role or character in a novel/movie/play), 或某一类型的人物(a/certain type/kind of person).

  • 在電影中他演什麼角色? - What "role/character/persona" does he play in the movie?

  • 他是什麼角色竟敢替你出頭? - What kind of "character" is he who dares to stand up for you?

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