• Your role in the school is a teacher.
  • His role in the team is a developer.
  • Her role in the family is a mother.

human + something (e.g school, team, and family) + role

What we can call the thing that the role is applied on? Is there an English term that can represents the "something" in the equation?

  • 1
    There are no umbrella terms that will capture all of these. The loosest I can think of is "organization" — families, schools and teams are all types of organization — but if you use that term you will probably make people think of something else entirely. – Robusto Sep 27 '18 at 0:23
  • I don't understand "the thing that the role is applied on." Role: teacher. What else are you referring to? – Jason Bassford Sep 27 '18 at 7:58
  • @JasonBassford, if the role is teacher, what is the term that we can use to describe the school in this relation (the role subject, the context, or ...)? – Mohamed Shehata Sep 30 '18 at 12:25
  • I find the question strange. A school is a building or, perhaps, a teaching environment. – Jason Bassford Sep 30 '18 at 15:12

The term I would use would be context. Each example you gave specified a role and the context for that role. From the Oxford Dictionaries:



  1. The circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood.

    ‘the proposals need to be considered in the context of new European directives’

  • Thanks @Roger, can I also use "the role subject"?! – Mohamed Shehata Sep 30 '18 at 12:21
  • @MohamedShehata - I suppose you could, but subject carries the connotation of being smaller or contained within. ODO defines it as A person or thing that is being discussed, described, or dealt with. The subject of a teachers role might be something like math or art while the subject of a mother's role is to care for and provide for her family. Consider this: A woman might have children and the president of a corporation. In the context of her family, she is the mother; in the context of her company, she is the president. – Roger Sinasohn Oct 1 '18 at 16:31
  • For that same woman, the subject of her role as mother is making lunches, checking homework, etc. In her role as president, the subject of her efforts is making sure the company behaves in an ethical, considerate way while still making a profit. – Roger Sinasohn Oct 1 '18 at 16:33

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