Dictionary.com

protagonist

[ proh-tag-uh-nist ]
/ proʊˈtæg ə nɪst /
Save This Word!
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.
QUIZ
ARE YOU A TRUE BLUE CHAMPION OF THESE "BLUE" SYNONYMS?
We could talk until we're blue in the face about this quiz on words for the color "blue," but we think you should take the quiz and find out if you're a whiz at these colorful terms.
Question 1 of 8
Which of the following words describes “sky blue”?
Meet Grammar CoachWrite or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar helpImprove Your Writing
Meet Grammar CoachImprove Your Writing
Write or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar help

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

OTHER WORDS FROM protagonist

pro·tag·o·nism, noun

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH protagonist

1. antagonist, protagonist 2. proponent, protagonist
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

How to use protagonist in a sentence

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

Derived forms of protagonist

protagonism, noun

Word Origin for protagonist

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.
FEEDBACK