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Recently I came across the word 'extra' in following meaning: "a person engaged temporarily to fill out a crowd scene in a film or play".

I have a strong feeling that there should be some synonyms/other words with this meaning.

What are the synonyms for extra as in the above?

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3 Answers

A less flattering term that was once common is bit player although this has now expanded beyond its original filmic intent. In German, this is Kleindarsteller (small part actor).

Since there was quite a lot of call for extras in historical epics with battle scenes, an actor might light-heartedly say "I was just a spear carrier in that one."

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Walk-on rôle/walk-on part/walk-on player, scene part, background part, spear-carrier (this last in reference to the extras in historical productions, who add flavour by hanging around carrying an historical weapon), bit-part/bit player/bit-rôle.

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Background actor, previously called an extra.

Background performer (Screen Actors Guild)

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