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prot·​es·​tant ˈprä-tə-stənt How to pronounce protestant (audio)
sense 2 is also
prə-ˈte- How to pronounce protestant (audio)
: 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
: 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
: one who makes or enters a protest
Protestantism noun


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

Examples of protestant in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Henry’s only surviving son, Edward VI, was a fervent Protestant whose coronation featured his anointment as supreme head of the Church of England. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 2 May 2023 Trimble, a Protestant, was the leader of the UUP, the Ulster Unionist Party. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 13 Apr. 2023 In most societies throughout history, the politics of identity was one of conflict: Protestants against Catholics, Serbs against Croats, peasants against noblemen. Michael Carpenter, Foreign Affairs, 5 Mar. 2020 This all changed in the late 1970s with the rise of the social wing of the New Right; the Catholic Right-to-Life movement was suddenly joined by a swell of evangelical Protestants. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 6 Nov. 2010 What’s more, 92% of white evangelical Christians, 71% of Black protestants, 69% of white Catholics and 66% of Latino Catholics believe there are only two genders, compared with 46% of those who don’t have a religious affiliation. Mark Murray, NBC News, 8 June 2023 When Baroness Scotland entered the legal profession - which at the time was 93% male, white and protestant - the odds were already heavily stacked against her. Mandeep Rai, Forbes, 21 June 2022 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, 6 Mar. 2020 About a quarter of all American adults identify as evangelical protestants, according to a 2014 poll by the Pew Research Center., 29 Dec. 2019
Similar divides have led to splits among Baptists, Mennonites, Presbyterians and other protestant denominations. Kayla Jimenez, The Courier-Journal, 23 Feb. 2024 Among the Maui landmarks threatened by fire is the largest banyan tree in the U.S, which was planted in 1873 after being imported from India to honor the 50th anniversary of the first protestant missionaries to arrive in the area. Mary Walrath-Holdridge, USA TODAY, 30 Aug. 2023 Adam Smith’s brewer and baker, working in their own self-interest to propel the economy, were part of a protestant community infrastructure. Michael Eisenberg, Fortune, 4 May 2023 The director gained exclusive access to a rehabilitation experiment initiated by protestant monks at Norway’s high security prison of Halden, where a handful of inmates go on a retreat for a three-week period each year in a ward that has been turned into a monastery. Lise Pedersen, Variety, 22 May 2022 On this day in 1956, César Chávez, director of the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA), was arrested along with eight farm laborers, a priest and a protestant minister, in a dispute between the farm workers union and Di Giorgio Fruit Corp. in the Borrego Valley. Merrie Monteagudo, San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 June 2021 Bishop Azad said both were clergy of the Diocese of Peshawar in the Church of Pakistan, which is a union of protestant churches including the Methodists and the Anglicans. Reuters, CNN, 30 Jan. 2022 Born in Paris on Dec. 3, 1930, Jean-Luc Godard was the son of protestant parents who lived between France and Switzerland, moving permanently to the latter in 1933. Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter, 13 Sep. 2022 But even as modern shopping culture was born at the end of the 19th century, the protestant value of thriftiness persisted. Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, 3 Aug. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'protestant.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


1539, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1539, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of protestant was in 1539

Dictionary Entries Near protestant

Cite this Entry

“Protestant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


 sense 2 is also  prə-ˈtes-
capitalized : a member of one of several Christian churches that separated from the Roman Catholic church in the 16th century or of a church founded by members of these churches
: one who protests
protestant adjective often capitalized

Legal Definition


pro·​tes·​tant prə-ˈtes-tənt How to pronounce protestant (audio)
: a person challenging an action of an administrative agency

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