From the 18th century on, the expression Schauspieler/in in German referred to professional theater performers. Older terms, such as Acteur or Comödiant (Comedian players), were subsequently systematically suppressed. The lexicographer of the day, Johann Christoph Adelung, for instance, denounced both as superfluous loan-words or as pejorative.
2. The first phase: 1450-1700
Performers in medieval plays were mostly a…