antagonist

noun
an·​tag·​o·​nist | \ an-ˈta-gə-nist How to pronounce antagonist (audio) \

Definition of antagonist

1 : one that contends with or opposes another : adversary, opponent political antagonists
2 : an agent of physiological antagonism: such as
a : a muscle that contracts with and limits the action of an agonist with which it is paired

called also antagonistic muscle

b : a chemical that acts within the body to reduce the physiological activity of another chemical substance (such as an opiate) especially : one that opposes the action on the nervous system of a drug or a substance occurring naturally in the body by combining with and blocking its nervous receptor — compare agonist sense 2b

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Synonyms & Antonyms for antagonist

Synonyms

Antonyms

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Did You Know?

On the stage or screen, in a story or a novel, the protagonist is the main character and the antagonist is the opposing one. Pro- and ant- usually mark the good and bad characters, but not always; there may occasionally be an evil protagonist and a good antagonist. In the drama of the real world, it's especially hard to sort out which is which, so we usually speak of both parties to a conflict as antagonists. During a strike, for example, representatives of labor and management become antagonists; they often manage to antagonize each other, and the antagonism often remains after the strike is over.

Examples of antagonist in a Sentence

They are interested in character first, and in Don, a foul-mouthed psychopath with a hair-trigger temper and buried longings for Gal's wife, they have created a truly scary antagonist. — David Ansen, Newsweek, 18 June 2001 In the 1970s researchers discovered that the actions of estrogen and other hormones can be blocked chemically by drugs called hormone antagonists — David Plotkin, Atlantic, June 1996 If the new comptroller is a true antagonist of the seamy bond market practices he decried in the campaign, why has he installed as his first deputy the public finance director from the Dinkins administration who was Holtzman's accomplice in each of those deals. — Wayne Barrett, Village Voice, March 1994 As in that film, Kopple not only draws an intimate portrait of the protagonists and antagonists in the strike, but also deftly locates the workers' struggle within a broad context of economic and political forces. — Frank Thompson, Film Comment, January/February 1991 please name the novel's hero and his antagonist his antagonist in the boxing match
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Recent Examples on the Web Mads Mikkelsen and veteran videogame voice actor Troy Baker are on hand as some of the main antagonists. Evan Lewis, EW.com, "Death Stranding is as bizarre as it is innovative," 1 Nov. 2019 To be sure, there is no shortage of Clinton antagonists who would like to see her in the dock. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "No One Really Wants to ‘Send Her Back’," 20 July 2019 One of Amro’s chief antagonists is the Hebron settler leader Baruch Marzel, also US-born. Batya Ungar-sargon, The New York Review of Books, "A Palestinian in Israeli Military Court: Issa Amro, the Judge, & Me," 17 June 2019 With the Bunnies, Awad has created some of the most memorable antagonists in recent fiction. Michael Schaub, latimes.com, "In Mona Awad’s ‘Bunny,’ squad goals include Pinkberry, creative writing and murder," 11 June 2019 The lack of antagonist is something that has been mentioned in reviews for Ocean’s 8. Elena Nicolaou, refinery29.com, "The Year Of Spectacular Men," 19 June 2018 For those who wish to know nothing further about this deadly group of antagonists, read no further: full blown Whisperers spoilers from the comics are ahead. Josh Wigler, The Hollywood Reporter, "Did 'The Walking Dead' Just Introduce the Season 9 Villain?," 17 Apr. 2018 And the Detroit Pistons played the antagonist role for the NBA superstar. Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons burned by Luka Doncic and the Mavericks, 122-111, in Mexico," 13 Dec. 2019 For now, at least, Mr. Macron has replaced Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany as Mr. Trump’s chief antagonist on the Continent. Mark Landler, New York Times, "For Trump and Europe, a Surprising Role Reversal," 3 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'antagonist.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of antagonist

1555, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for antagonist

see antagonize

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Learn More about antagonist

Time Traveler for antagonist

Time Traveler

The first known use of antagonist was in 1555

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Statistics for antagonist

Last Updated

4 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Antagonist.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/antagonist. Accessed 17 January 2020.

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More Definitions for antagonist

antagonist

noun
How to pronounce antagonist (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of antagonist

: a person who opposes another person

antagonist

noun
an·​tag·​o·​nist | \ an-ˈta-gə-nəst How to pronounce antagonist (audio) \

Kids Definition of antagonist

: a person who is against something or someone else : opponent

antagonist

noun
an·​tag·​o·​nist | \ -nəst How to pronounce antagonist (audio) \

Medical Definition of antagonist

: an agent that acts in physiological opposition contact between a tooth and its antagonist in the opposing jaw : as
a : a muscle that contracts with and limits the action of an agonist with which it is paired

called also antagonistic muscle

— compare agonist sense 1, synergist sense 2
b : a chemical that acts within the body to reduce the physiological activity of another chemical substance (as an opiate) especially : one that opposes the action on the nervous system of a drug or a substance occurring naturally in the body by combining with and blocking its nervous receptor — compare agonist sense 2

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Comments on antagonist

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