protagonist(redirected from Primary character)
Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.
1. The main character in a work of fiction, as a play, film, or novel.
2. In ancient Greek drama, the first actor to engage in dialogue with the chorus, in later dramas playing the main character and some minor characters as well.
a. A leading or principal figure.
b. The leader of a cause; a champion.
4. Usage Problem A proponent; an advocate.
[Greek prōtagōnistēs : prōto-, proto- + agōnistēs, actor, combatant (from agōnizesthai, to contend, from agōn, contest, from agein, to drive, lead; see ag- in Indo-European roots).]
Usage Note: The protagonist of a Greek drama was its leading actor; therefore, there could be only one in a play. Ancient Greek also had words for the second and third actor. These were borrowed into English as deuteragonist and tritagonist, respectively, but the two terms are generally used only in technical discussions of drama. As early as 1671 John Dryden used protagonists to mean simply "important actors" or "principal characters": " 'Tis charg'd upon me that I make debauch'd persons ... my protagonists, or the chief persons of the drama." Some writers may still prefer to confine protagonist to its original singular sense, but it is useless now to insist that the looser use is wrong, since it is so well established and since so many literary works have no single main character. The Usage Panel accepts the looser use. In our 2004 survey, 86 percent of the Panel approved of the sentence Joyce's Ulysses has two protagonists: Leopold Bloom and Stephen Daedalus. Similarly, 84 percent accepted The novel, written from multiple points of view, has several protagonists. · Some people use protagonist to refer to a proponent, a usage that became common only in the 20th century and may have been influenced by a misunderstanding that the first syllable of the word is the prefix pro-, "favoring." Many readers will therefore find erroneous a sentence like He was an early protagonist of nuclear power. Certainly, most of the Usage Panel does. In 2004, 83 percent rejected this same sentence. Fortunately, words like advocate and proponent are standard in these contexts.
1. (Literary & Literary Critical Terms) the principal character in a play, story, etc
2. a supporter, esp when important or respected, of a cause, political party, etc
[C17: from Greek prōtagōnistēs, from prōtos first + agōnistēs actor]
pro•tag•o•nist(proʊˈtæg ə nɪst)
1. the leading character of a drama or other literary work.
2. a chief proponent or leader of a movement, cause, etc.
3. (in ancient Greek drama) the actor who played the main role and other roles as well.
4. Physiol. agonist (def. 3).
the principal character in the drama.See also: Drama
Switch to new thesaurus
|Noun||1.||protagonist - a person who backs a politician or a team etc.; "all their supporters came out for the game"; "they are friends of the library"|
Boswell - a devoted admirer and recorder of another's words and deeds
cheerleader - an enthusiastic and vocal supporter; "he has become a cheerleader for therapeutic cloning"
Confederate - a supporter of the Confederate States of America
corporatist - a supporter of corporatism
free trader - an advocate of unrestricted international trade
functionalist - an adherent of functionalism
Jacobite - a supporter of James II after he was overthrown or a supporter of the Stuarts
New Dealer - a supporter of the economic policies in the United States known as the New Deal
Roundhead - a supporter of parliament and Oliver Cromwell during the English Civil War
seconder - someone who endorses a motion or petition as a necessary preliminary to a discussion or vote
Shavian - an admirer of G. B. Shaw or his works
well-wisher, sympathiser, sympathizer - someone who shares your feelings or opinions and hopes that you will be successful
toaster, wassailer - someone who proposes a toast; someone who drinks to the health of success of someone or some venture
maintainer, sustainer, upholder - someone who upholds or maintains; "firm upholders of tradition"; "they are sustainers of the idea of democracy"
Whig - a supporter of the American Revolution
|2.||protagonist - the principal character in a work of fiction|
antihero - a protagonist who lacks the characteristics that would make him a hero (or her a heroine)