‘Role’ and ‘roll’

Mixing up role and roll is a common mistake. Role is a noun, but roll can be a verb or a noun. You can find more comprehensive definitions of roll – I’ve just listed the main uses here (it’s a really long list otherwise) – but mine should give you an idea of the difference between the two words.


  • a task or function


  • strawberry-caketo move by turning over and over; to rotate
  • to move or run on wheels
  • to turn something over and over to form a ball or cylinder
  • to flatten something
  • to reverberate; a prolonged reverberating sound
  • to appear like waves; to undulate
  • something that has been rolled up to form a cylinder shape
  • a small bread (enough for one person)
  • an official list or register
  • a swaying or unsteady movement

My tip: associate roll with ball (balls roll and you can roll something pliable into a ball) and/or poll (you need to be on the electoral roll to use a polling station).


  • Collins English Dictionary, 2009
  • Oxford Dictionaries Online
  • Pixabay (image)

2 thoughts on “‘Role’ and ‘roll’

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