[ prot-uh-stuhnt or, for 4, 6, pruh-tes-tuhnt ]

  1. any Western Christian who is not an adherent of a Catholic, Anglican, or Eastern Church.

  2. an adherent of any of those Christian bodies that separated from the Church of Rome during the Reformation, or of any group descended from them, usually excluding the Anabaptists.

  1. (originally) any of the German princes who protested against the decision of the Diet of Speyer in 1529, which had denounced the Reformation.

  2. protestant, a person who protests.

  1. belonging or relating to Protestants or their religion.

  2. protestant. protesting.

Origin of Protestant

First recorded in 1530–40; from French or German, from Latin prōtestantēs “bearing public witness,” plural of present participle of prōtestārī “to bear public witness”; see protest

Other words from Protestant

  • an·ti-Prot·es·tant, adjective, noun
  • non-Prot·es·tant, adjective, noun
  • pro-Prot·es·tant, adjective, noun
  • un·prot·es·tant, adjective

Words Nearby Protestant Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use Protestant in a sentence

  • Hugh Brady, appointed by patent in 1563, was a purely Protestant bishop.

  • So, as he tells us, did one more Protestant pass over to the worship of Lucifer.

    Devil-Worship in France | Arthur Edward Waite
  • Sometimes Mazzini speaks as if he accepted the whole Protestant doctrine of individual judgment, and in a sense he does.

    The Life of Mazzini | Bolton King
  • It was a virtuous deed to slaughter Protestant men and women until they were all exterminated.

    Is Ulster Right? | Anonymous
  • But the new Protestant teachers were much more enthusiastic about the Bible.

    Stories That Words Tell Us | Elizabeth O'Neill

British Dictionary definitions for Protestant


/ (ˈprɒtɪstənt) /

    • an adherent of Protestantism

    • (as modifier): the Protestant Church

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

Cultural definitions for Protestant


A Christian belonging to one of the three great divisions of Christianity (the other two are the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church). Protestantism began during the Renaissance as a protest against the established (Roman Catholic) church (see also established church). That protest, led by Martin Luther, was called the Reformation, because it sprang from a desire to reform the church and cleanse it of corruption, such as the selling of indulgences.

Notes for Protestant

Protestants hold a great variety of beliefs, but they are united in rejecting the authority of the pope. Protestant groups include the Amish, the Anglican Communion, the Assemblies of God, the Baptists, Christian Science, the Congregationalists, the Lutheran Church, the Mennonites, the Methodists, the Presbyterian Church, and the Quakers.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.