prot·​es·​tant | \ˈprä-tə-stənt, sense 2 is also prə-ˈte- \

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 \ noun

Examples of protestant in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 This was the party of the union, northern cities, industrialists and protestants, run by classical liberals who believed in a nightwatchman state, content to pick up a colony or two but leery of foreign wars. The Economist, "The president’s takeover of his party is near complete," 19 Apr. 2018 Sovereign Grace is a massive protestant network with 70 churches in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia. Fox News, "Man acquitted in Kate Steinle death fights federal charges," 16 Mar. 2018 Her husband, Ewan MacDonald, had struggled for some time to find work as a protestant minister. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "L.M. Montgomery’s Ontario Home Will Open As a Museum," 17 Mar. 2017 That’s a line that the Catholic Church and some of the biggest protestant denominations are also keen to stress. Billy Perrigo, Time, "How the World Is Marking the 500th Birthday of Protestantism," 27 Oct. 2017 These are songs of giving, true protestant hymns speaking to the emptiness in man, protesting alienation in a very Christian way. Ralph J. Gleason, San Francisco Chronicle, "Soul sounds and rugged rock in ‘Big Pink,’ Ralph J. Gleason, 1968," 26 Oct. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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 Under Caldwell's leadership starting in 1982, Windsor Village church grew from 25 members to more than 16,000, and is one of the largest protestant churches in the nation, according to the church website. Samantha Ketterer, Houston Chronicle, "Megachurch pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell denies claims of cheating investors," 30 Mar. 2018 The couple, originally from North Carolina, had lived for 23 years in Turkey’s third largest city, where Andrew was the pastor of the Izmir Resurrection Church, a small protestant congregation of about 25. Joshua Keating, Slate Magazine, "How an American pastor, improbably accused of terrorism, became a pawn in U.S.-Turkey relations.," 15 May 2017 In the '70s and '80s, polos were peak WASP (White Anglo Saxon Protestant) cool, a foundation of fashion designer Ralph Lauren’s style empire. Jared Michael Lowe, Teen Vogue, "How Polo Shirts Became a White Supremacist Uniform," 29 Aug. 2017 International students’ attendance at the college was part of a larger effort at religious and imperial expansion as many of these students were brought to the college by American Protestant missionaries overseas. Leila Mcneill, Smithsonian, "This 19th Century Lady Doctor Helped Usher Indian Women Into Medicine," 24 Aug. 2017 Moore’s brother, John, became a naval chaplain; her longer poems’ resemblance to sermons echoes John’s, and Mary’s, Protestant piety. Stephen Burt, New York Times, "Marianne Moore’s Poetry, the Way She Intended It," 11 Aug. 2017 PRRI, for example, asks those surveyed to self-identify by race (e.g., white), by religion (e.g. Protestant Christian), and then as Evangelical or born-again, if applicable. Jeff Cimmino, National Review, "For Evangelicals, the Marriage Debate Is Just Beginning," 20 July 2017 Henry was the first student of Foreign Mission School in Cornwall and the inspiration for the Protestant missions to Hawaii. Courant Community, "Community News For The Colchester Edition," 17 July 2017

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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The first known use of protestant was in 1539

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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 \

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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