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protagonist

[ proh-tag-uh-nist ]
/ proʊˈtæg ə nɪst /
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See synonyms for: protagonist / protagonists on Thesaurus.com

noun

the leading character, hero, or heroine of a drama or other literary work.
a proponent for or advocate of a political cause, social program, etc.
the leader or principal person in a movement, cause, etc.
the first actor in ancient Greek drama, who played not only the main role, but also other roles when the main character was offstage.Compare deuteragonist, tritagonist.
Physiology. agonist.

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Origin of protagonist

First recorded in 1665–75; from Greek prōtagōnistḗs “actor who plays the first part,” literally, “first combatant,” equivalent to prôt(os) “first” + agōnistḗs “one who contends for a prize, combatant, actor”; see origin at proto-, antagonist
pro·tag·o·nism, noun
1. antagonist, protagonist 2. proponent, protagonist
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for protagonist

protagonist
/ (prəʊˈtæɡənɪst) /

noun

the principal character in a play, story, etc
a supporter, esp when important or respected, of a cause, political party, etc
protagonism, noun
C17: from Greek prōtagōnistēs, from prōtos first + agōnistēs actor
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 protagonist

protagonist
[ (proh-tag-uh-nist) ]

The principal character in a literary work. Hamlet, for example, is the protagonist of the play by William Shakespeare that bears his name.

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.
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