Definition of antagonist
2 : an agent of physiological antagonism: 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 (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 2b
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>
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.
Origin and Etymology of antagonist
First Known Use: 1575
ANTAGONIST Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of antagonist for English Language Learners
: a person who opposes another person
ANTAGONIST Defined for Kids
Medical Definition of antagonist
: an agent that acts in physiological opposition <contact between a tooth and its antagonist in the opposing jaw>: asa: a muscle that contracts with and limits the action of an agonist with which it is paired—called also antagonistic muscle; compare agonist 1, synergist 2b: 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 2
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up antagonist? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).