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Short Description

An Actor is someone or something that can actually do things, such as people or machines. Actors will generally do things, i.e. execute actions in different ways, depending on the context, or the party for whom they do this.

The Parties, Actors and Actions pattern provides an overview of how this concept fits in with related concepts.


The ability to distinguish between (non)actors allows one to determine which (kinds of) actors are capable of executing which (kinds of) actions, specifically since organizations do not qualify as an actor (they need actors to get things done).


Entity that is capable of actually executing actions (acting, doing things).


  • People (human beings) obviously qualify, as do robots and other machines.
  • Stones, pictures, ideas, etc. do not qualify.
  • Software applications qualify, provided they are actually running on hardware. An app that is just sitting e.g. on a mobile phone but isn't executed does not qualify.
  • Enterprises, governments, and other organizations do not qualify.

Related concepts