Definition of actant in English:



  • 1Grammar
    A noun or noun phrase involved in the action expressed by a verb.

    • ‘Transitive verbs typically have actants that play thematic semantic roles.’
    • ‘The first metafunction consists of an underlying semantic structure or logical form describing relations between actants fulfilling roles in a process (verb or predicate).’
    • ‘We use the term ‘valence’ to describe semantically an actant of the verb, i. e., to describe the semantic role of the actant.’
  • 2(in literary theory) a person, creature, or object playing any of a set of active roles in a narrative.

    • ‘As Swapan Chakravorty has observed, the characters in A Chaste Maid in Cheapside are the result of a ‘shuffling [of] the old actants and indices’ of Middleton's earlier plays.’
    • ‘In other words, an actor / actant must be made relevant to others, be made indispensable to others, and be granted consent by others (enrolment).’
    • ‘Successful actor-networks are built by enrolling the heterogeneous actants as active participants in a common project.’
    • ‘Their most articulate supporters point out that Latour's non-human actants are already articulated by human agents (bacteria is a human/social category).’
    • ‘These four steps describe the interactions between three actants (abstract representations of characters and their functions): the Subject, the Object and the Sender.’