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Roleplay, Role-Play, or Role Play?

What word is the correct usage?

  • Role-Play

    Votes: 24 31.6%
  • Roleplay

    Votes: 42 55.3%
  • Role Play

    Votes: 5 6.6%
  • Rollplay

    Votes: 5 6.6%

Twin Rose

First Post
At this years GenCon, I was at lunch with a couple of publishers, and the issue of how to best spell Role-play and why came up. See, as many know, I'm dabbling in publishing, and I use Role-play in my book. Of course, others had explanations of why it was roleplay, and their explanations were in fact valid.. Except that one word doesn't become the acronym "rp". Sooo ... After coming home I've talked to a few others: editors, writers, gamers... And it seems like a real toss up. Therefore, I've decided to let the gaming public decide. It won't make any differece in the long run, I'm sure, but let's see what you all think.

(Feel free to post oppinions and pros and cons)

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I think role-play is most common and certainly what microsoft's spell checker and most dictionaries I've checked have, although I prefer roleplay and that is becoming the more common usage. Most of the rulebooks I have that have been published in the last few years say they are roleplaying games (Mutant and Masterminds, Fading Suns, Star Wars, etc.).

Tom Cashel

First Post
Are you looking for opinions or the correct usage? :)

The correct usage is role-play, from role-playing game. Both "role" and "playing" describe the game, so they are hyphenated into one adjective.

Merriam-Webster's 10th ed. lists the transitive verb "role-play," meaning to act out, to play a role.

Twin Rose

First Post
Oppinions and correct usage. After all, shouldn't a product read the way people want it to? I use it a lot in everyday conversations, as well - I spend a lot of time on here, and in the #dnd3e chatroom (Thanks bynw, tika and morrus!) and obviously the word comes up a lot in these areas.


First Post
I believe the correct form of the spelling is as follows:

roll play

[Legend has it the game we currently enjoy had its roots in Zurich's "sudden-theatre" movement of the 1920s. Apparently employees in industrial bakehouses would gather in public places to imitate their favorite breadstuffs.]

Twin Rose

First Post
Verdigris said:
I believe the correct form of the spelling is as follows:

roll play

How does one, exactly, play a "roll"? That was put in the poll sort of as a joke. "Roll" is what you do with the dice - in that sense, you could call monopoly a RPG. It's not, though - in a RPG you "play the role of your character". (You don't play the role of your dice).


First Post
I look upon "role-play" as a rather scientific, detached, and probably psychological term.

"Roleplaying" is a composite name to define a new type of game; therefore it is the term that I use (and have put into my personal dictionary in my computers over the years).

Personal taste, I suppose. :)


As a former editor of RPGs, I voted for roleplay. I find role-playing to be slightly clunky, and I believe it is more important to have the text flow smoothly. As for what dictionaries say, I'm a firm believer that dictionaries should come from language, not the other way around.

Jim Butler

Compound words are used to combine words that aren't generally used together into a single word that has a unique meaning. Performing a role and playing a game weren't generally actions that went together in the early 70's, but when D&D started that changed everything.

Certainly among the roleplaying audience, the term roleplayer is a known quantity. There's no reason to try and tie the terms together in a fashion that lets people know that they're really two distinct terms. They're such a part of our vocabulary that keeping them as compound words doesn't serve any useful purpose.

Besides, don't we have enough hyphens in our products? :p

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