pro·​test | \ ˈprō-ˌtest How to pronounce protest (audio) \

Definition of protest

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a solemn declaration of opinion and usually of dissent: such as
a : a sworn declaration that payment of a note or bill has been refused and that all responsible signers or debtors are liable for resulting loss or damage
b : a declaration made especially before or while paying that a tax is illegal and that payment is not voluntary
2 : the act of objecting or a gesture of disapproval resigned in protest especially : a usually organized public demonstration of disapproval
3 : a complaint, objection, or display of unwillingness usually to an idea or a course of action went under protest
4 : an objection made to an official or a governing body of a sport


pro·​test | \ prə-ˈtest How to pronounce protest (audio) , ˈprō-ˌtest, prō-ˈtest \
protested; protesting; protests

Definition of protest (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to make solemn declaration or affirmation of protest my innocence
2 : to execute or have executed a formal protest against (something, such as a bill or note)
3 : to make a statement or gesture in objection to protested the abuses of human rights

intransitive verb

1 : to make a protestation
2 : to make or enter a protest

Other Words from protest


protester or protestor \ prə-​ˈte-​stər How to pronounce protest (audio) , ˈprō-​ˌte-​ , prō-​ˈte-​ \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for protest


assert, declare, affirm, protest, avow mean to state positively usually in anticipation of denial or objection. assert implies stating confidently without need for proof or regard for evidence. asserted that modern music is just noise declare stresses open or public statement. declared her support for the candidate affirm implies conviction based on evidence, experience, or faith. affirmed the existence of an afterlife protest emphasizes affirming in the face of denial or doubt. protested that he really had been misquoted avow stresses frank declaration and acknowledgment of personal responsibility for what is declared. avowed that all investors would be repaid in full

Examples of protest in a Sentence

Noun He heard protests from the crowd. She told him to go to bed despite his protests that he wasn't tired. There were cries of protest when the verdict was announced. The suspect surrendered his gun without protest. She was so upset by their decision that she resigned in protest. The students launched a protest against the tuition increase. Verb The victim's family protested at the judge's sentence. There is no use protesting. I will not change my mind. The coach protested the referee's call. The decision was protested by dozens of people. Students protested at the civil rights rally. They were protesting against the death penalty. Peace activists protested the war. She protested that the law was unfair. “But I'm innocent!” he protested. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This indignation needs an outlet, and for most people, that outlet will be public protest. Damon Linker, The Week, 13 May 2022 Change in Beirut's political order could mark a first step in extricating the country from its hodgepodge of proxy conflicts, and produce a ripple effect in a region where protest movements have so far failed to effect political change. Tamara Qiblawi, CNN, 13 May 2022 His catalogue, spanning six decades of classics, oddities, poignant protest songs, and unforgettable one-liners earned him the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature. oregonlive, 12 May 2022 During a statewide student walkout in March, Moricz led Sarasota County’s largest protest in opposition to the legislation. Matt Lavietes, NBC News, 12 May 2022 Some nurses at Thursday's protest reported caring for eight to 10 patients simultaneously. Bynoah Minnie, ABC News, 12 May 2022 The marches now feel like rearranging protest signs on the Titanic. Washington Post, 11 May 2022 Scores of House Democratic lawmakers marched protest-style to the Senate and briefly watched from the visitor galleries. Lisa Mascaro, Chicago Tribune, 11 May 2022 Scores of House Democratic lawmakers marched protest-style to the Senate and briefly watched from the visitor galleries. Lisa Mascaro,, 11 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The fact that Slovakia still has these democratic values and people have the ability to protest or write, is really important. Jennie Punter, Variety, 9 May 2022 Chin's supporters organized to protest and fight other civil rights violations. Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press, 2 May 2022 Several East County residents attended Friday’s press conference to protest the nearby camp and raise concerns about potential crime. San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 Apr. 2022 Then Kyiv disinvited the German president from a visit, in part to protest his business ties to Russia and what Ukrainian leaders perceived as Germany’s dragging its feet on supplying heavy weapons. Lenora Chu, The Christian Science Monitor, 28 Apr. 2022 Demonstrators in Grand Rapids have gathered to protest the shooting and call for the release of the name of the officer who shot Lyoya. oregonlive, 17 Apr. 2022 In Finland and Slovakia, demonstrators lay on the ground in front of Russian embassies, playing dead to protest the violence and rising death toll in Ukraine. Washington Post, 9 Apr. 2022 About 300 people held a candlelight vigil in a Singapore park on Monday to protest against Dharmalingam's impending execution, according to Reuters. Rhea Mogul And Helen Regan, CNN, 27 Apr. 2022 In the days leading up to Lucio's clemency hearing, political and social justice figures held rallies and prayer vigils to protest her death sentence. Kiara Alfonseca, ABC News, 25 Apr. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of protest


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for protest


Middle English, from protester


Middle English, from Anglo-French protester, from Latin protestari, from pro- forth + testari to call to witness — more at pro-, testament

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The first known use of protest was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

15 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Protest.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for protest


pro·​test | \ prə-ˈtest How to pronounce protest (audio) \
protested; protesting

Kids Definition of protest

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to complain strongly about : object to Fans protested the umpire's decision.
2 : to declare positively : assert He protested his innocence.

Other Words from protest

protester \ prə-​ˈte-​stər , ˈprō-​ˌte-​stər \ noun


pro·​test | \ ˈprō-ˌtest How to pronounce protest (audio) \

Kids Definition of protest (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a complaint or objection against an idea, an act, or a way of doing things
2 : an event in which people gather to show disapproval of something


Medical Definition of protest



Legal Definition of protest

1 : a solemn declaration of opinion and usually of disagreement: as
a : a solemn written declaration by a notary public or U.S. consul on behalf of the holder of an instrument (as a note) announcing dishonor and declaring the liability of all parties to the instrument for any loss or damage arising from such action also : the action of making or causing to be made such a declaration with due service of notice of dishonor
b : a declaration made by the master of a ship before a notary, consul, or other authorized officer upon arrival in port after a disaster declaring that any loss was not the fault of the crew but due to the disaster
c : a declaration made by a party especially before or while paying a tax or performing a demanded act by which the declarer asserts that the justice or legality of the tax or act is disputed and that compliance is not voluntary
2 : the act of objecting or a gesture of disapproval especially : a usually organized public demonstration of disapproval
under protest
: with noted objections (as of insufficient payment) and claims cashed a check under protest

Other Words from protest

protest verb

More from Merriam-Webster on protest

Nglish: Translation of protest for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of protest for Arabic Speakers


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