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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
If a Catholic website wanted to exclude a Protestant from participating in a discussion, the First Amendment shields that website’s ability to do that, Clement said, prompting widespread laughter in the courtroom. Brian Fung, CNN, 26 Feb. 2024 Blackthorne, an English Protestant, is immediately seen as the Catholic's enemy, hence the Jesuit priest's misleading translation. Nick Romano,, 21 Feb. 2024 Yet as much as any Protestant, Manzoni was aware of and disgusted by the frequently corrupt and demoralizing history of the papacy. David Harsanyi, National Review, 25 Jan. 2024 By the 1980s a pro-life stance was almost entailed by an assertion that one was a socially conservative Protestant. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 6 Nov. 2010 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
In Elizabethan England, some Catholics, many of whom were priests, were put to death as their religion was seen as treasonous to the monarchy, which presided over the protestant Church of England. Brendan Rascius, Miami Herald, 22 Mar. 2024 Crossroads didn’t only change or abandon parts of the weekly service that’s practiced in Catholic and mainline protestant churches. Dan Horn, The Enquirer, 20 Mar. 2024 The protestant colonialists want a piece of the pie. Erik Kain, Forbes, 27 Feb. 2024 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

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 15 Apr. 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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