[proh-tee-uh n, proh-tee-]
- readily assuming different forms or characters; extremely variable.
- changeable in shape or form, as an amoeba.
- (of an actor or actress) versatile; able to play many kinds of roles.
- (initial capital letter) of, relating to, or suggestive of Proteus.
Origin of protean
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- readily taking on various shapes or forms; variable
C16: from Proteus
Word Origin and History for proteanism
1590s, from Greek Proteus, sea god (son of Oceanus and Tethys) who could change his form; his name is literally "first," from protos "first" (see proto-).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- Readily taking on varied shapes, forms, or meanings.