[ prot-uh-stuh nt or for 4, 6, pruh-tes-tuh nt ]
/ ˈprɒt ə stənt or for 4, 6, prəˈtɛs tənt /


any Western Christian who is not an adherent of a Catholic, Anglican, or Eastern Church.
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.
(originally) any of the German princes who protested against the decision of the Diet of Speyer in 1529, which had denounced the Reformation.
(lowercase) a person who protests.


belonging or pertaining to Protestants or their religion.
(lowercase) protesting.

Origin of Protestant

1530–40; < German or French, for Latin prōtestantēs, plural of present participle of prōtestārī to bear public witness. See protest, -ant


an·ti-Prot·es·tant, noun, adjectivenon-Prot·es·tant, noun, adjectivepro-Prot·es·tant, adjective, nounun·prot·es·tant, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for protestant

/ (ˈprɒtɪstənt) /


  1. an adherent of Protestantism
  2. (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.