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[ag-uh-nist] /ˈæg ə nɪst/
a person engaged in a contest, conflict, struggle, etc., especially the protagonist in a literary work.
a person who is torn by inner conflict.
Physiology. a contracting muscle whose action is opposed by another muscle.
Compare antagonist (def 3).
Pharmacology. a chemical substance capable of activating a receptor to induce a full or partial pharmacological response.
Compare antagonist (def 5).
Origin of agonist
1620-30; < Late Latin agōnista < Greek agōnistḗs contestant, equivalent to agṓn agon + -istēs -ist Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for agonist


any muscle that is opposed in action by another muscle Compare antagonist (sense 2)
a competitor, as in an agon
Word Origin
C17: from Greek agōnagon
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for agonist

1876, in writings on Greek drama, from Greek agonistes, literally "combatant in the games" (see agony).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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agonist in Medicine

agonist ag·o·nist (āg'ə-nĭst)

  1. A contracting muscle that is resisted or counteracted by an antagonistic muscle.

  2. A substance that can combine with a cell receptor to produce a reaction typical for that substance.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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agonist in Science
  1. A muscle that actively contracts to produce a desired movement.

  2. A chemical substance, especially a drug, that can combine with a receptor on a cell to produce a physiologic response. Compare antagonist.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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