Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

protagonist

play
noun pro·tag·o·nist \prō-ˈta-gə-nist\

Simple Definition of protagonist

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

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

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of protagonist

  1. 1 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

  2. 2 :  a leader, proponent, or supporter of a cause :  champion

Examples of protagonist in a sentence

  1. Badlands has two protagonists and Days of Heaven four (though both movies are rich in colorful minor roles). —Richard Alleva, Commonweal, 12 Mar. 1999

  2. The protagonists of Gordon's fiction are children who have been saddled with their parents' emotional bad debts. —Judith Thurman, New Yorker, 12 Mar. 1990

  3. The most adamant opposition to my argument is likely to come from protagonists of secular reason … —Glenn Finder, Atlantic, December 1989

  4. She was a leading protagonist in the civil rights movement.

  5. <Milton Friedman is usually cited as the leading American protagonist of monetarism.>



Origin and Etymology of protagonist

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



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up protagonist? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a representation of something

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

confounded-person

Which is a synonym of indolent?

lazy frenetic melancholy philistine
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ