noun \prō-ˈta-gə-nist\

: the main character in a novel, play, movie, etc.

: an important person who is involved in a competition, conflict, or cause

Full Definition of PROTAGONIST

a :  the principal character in a literary work (as a drama or story)
b :  a leading actor, character, or participant in a literary work or real event
:  a leader, proponent, or supporter of a cause :  champion


  1. She was a leading protagonist in the civil rights movement.
  2. <Milton Friedman is usually cited as the leading American protagonist of monetarism.>
  3. Badlands has two protagonists and Days of Heaven four (though both movies are rich in colorful minor roles). —Richard Alleva, Commonweal, 12 Mar. 1999


Greek prōtagōnistēs, from prōt- prot- + agōnistēs competitor at games, actor, from agōnizesthai to compete, from agōn contest, competition at games — more at agony
First Known Use: 1671

Other Literature Terms

apophasis, bathos, bildungsroman, bowdlerize, caesura, coda, doggerel, euphemism, poesy, prosody


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