[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
Word Origin for protean
C16: from Proteus
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
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.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.