prot·​es·​tant | \ ˈprä-tə-stənt How to pronounce protestant (audio) , sense 2 is also prə-ˈte- How to pronounce protestant (audio) \

Definition of protestant

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 Protestant
a : any of a group of German princes and cities presenting a defense of freedom of conscience against an edict of the Diet of Speyer in 1529 intended to suppress the Lutheran movement
b : a member of any of several church denominations denying the universal authority of the Pope and affirming the Reformation principles of justification by faith alone, the priesthood of all believers, and the primacy of the Bible as the only source of revealed truth broadly : a Christian not of a Catholic or Eastern church
2 : one who makes or enters a protest



Definition of protestant (Entry 2 of 2)

1 capitalized : of or relating to Protestants, their churches, or their religion
2 : making or sounding a protest the two protestant ladies up and marched outTime

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Other Words from protestant


Protestantism \ ˈprä-​tə-​stən-​ˌti-​zəm How to pronounce Protestantism (audio) \ noun

Examples of protestant in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Fundamentalist protestants, a powerful political force in South Korea, are particularly distrustful of fringe Christian sects -- especially Shincheonji, which has been accused of poaching members of other churches. Joshua Berlinger, CNN, "How one man's epiphany on a Seoul mountain in 1955 laid the foundation for many religious sects in South Korea," 6 Mar. 2020 About a quarter of all American adults identify as evangelical protestants, according to a 2014 poll by the Pew Research Center., "Young Evangelicals for Climate Action has sought to capture the energies and attention of these people hungry for change within their faith community.," 29 Dec. 2019 On July 24, the protestants testified about their concerns before an administrative judge in Oakland. Esther Mobley,, "NIMBYs versus Negronis: Oakland residents protest cocktail bar Here’s How," 5 Aug. 2019 Anand, Schenker and the other protestants did not respond to requests for comment. Esther Mobley,, "NIMBYs versus Negronis: Oakland residents protest cocktail bar Here’s How," 5 Aug. 2019 As a protestant who overthrew a Catholic, William III has become a hero to Northern Ireland's 20th century unionists, a political constituency that wished to remain a part of the U.K., rather than join the rest of Catholic Ireland. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Beyond The Favourite: The Royal Family's Very Queer History," 22 Feb. 2019 In David Ireland’s play, directed by Vicky Featherstone, Eric, a protestant and lifelong Orangeman, gets a nasty surprise: His baby granddaughter looks like I.R.A. bigwig Gerry Adams. Alexis Soloski, New York Times, "11 Plays and Musicals to Go to in N.Y.C. This Weekend," 21 June 2018 This comes as the Presbyterians, like other mainline protestants churches, have faced rapidly declining memberships and an identity crisis that has allowed the more radical elements within the church to hijack the movement, observers say. Sean Savage, Jewish Journal, "Presbyterian Church continues trend of targeting Israel at its General Assembly," 26 June 2018 But one group the administration did not win were white mainline protestants. Eugene Scott, Washington Post, "Why being accused of ‘child abuse’ by his fellow Methodists probably means little to Jeff Sessions," 20 June 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Among evangelical protestant churches, many have reported great success in moving online. Nicholas Rowan, Washington Examiner, "Online church services fail to draw worshippers," 8 Apr. 2020 Ronnie Floyd, president of the executive committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, the country’s largest protestant denomination, said there is a growing willingness to discuss mental health today compared with 20 years ago. Ian Lovett, WSJ, "‘It’s Like I Got Kicked Out of My Family.’ Churches Struggle With Mental Health in the Ranks.," 20 Jan. 2020 Yet this was no normal coronation: The pair had effectively been sailed in from Holland to shore up the protestant nature of the English crown, in what was known as The Glorious Revolution. Phil Boucher,, "Queen Elizabeth Retiring? Five Times a Regent Has Taken Over the Throne," 6 Dec. 2019 Trump has an approval rating above the national average at 85% of the predominately white, protestant churches in America, Burge said. Anna Staver, The Denver Post, "Piqued by Trump, Colorado Democrats make a play for religious voters," 29 Sep. 2019 The main explanations included growing work pressure—mainly because of women’s entry into the workforce—and the decline of social institutions such as mainline protestant churches. The Economist, "What the mighty Dolphins say about America," 1 Aug. 2019 Every American president has had ties to a protestant or Catholic church. Daniel Oberhaus, WIRED, "Spaceflight and Spirituality, a Complicated Relationship," 16 July 2019 Support came from the middle-class, including from religious organizations; protestant denominations and Catholic and Jewish groups provided most of the financial backing for the NWRO. Livia Gershon, Longreads, "The Prosperity Plea," 30 May 2018 The figure of the righteous protestant astronaut was epitomized in John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth as part of NASA’s Mercury program, who frequently invoked his religious commitments at press conferences. Daniel Oberhaus, WIRED, "Spaceflight and Spirituality, a Complicated Relationship," 16 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'protestant.' 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 protestant


1539, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1539, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for protestant


Middle French, from Latin protestant-, protestans, present participle of protestari

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Time Traveler for protestant

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The first known use of protestant was in 1539

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Cite this Entry

“Protestant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for protestant


Prot·​es·​tant | \ ˈprä-tə-stənt \

Kids Definition of Protestant

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a member of one of the Christian churches that separated from the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th century



Kids Definition of Protestant (Entry 2 of 2)

: of or relating to Protestants


pro·​tes·​tant | \ prə-ˈtes-tənt How to pronounce protestant (audio) \

Legal Definition of protestant

: a person challenging an action of an administrative agency

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More from Merriam-Webster on protestant

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with protestant

Spanish Central: Translation of protestant

Nglish: Translation of protestant for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of protestant for Arabic Speakers

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