One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A non-speaking role, character, or actor.
Early 18th century. From post-classical Latin persona muta (in classical Latin as mūta persōna, in fig. use in Cicero) from classical Latin persōna character, role + mūta, feminine of mūtus silent.
persona muta/pəˌsəʊnə ˈm(j)uːtə/
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