protagonist


Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

pro·tag·o·nist

 (prō-tăg′ə-nĭst)
n.
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.
3.
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.

protagonist

(prəʊˈtæɡənɪst)
n
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]
proˈtagonism n

pro•tag•o•nist

(proʊˈtæg ə nɪst)

n.
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).
[1665–75; < Greek prōtagōnistḗs principal actor, leader =prôt(os) first + agōnistḗs contestant, actor. See proto-, antagonist]

protagonist

the principal character in the drama.
See also: Drama
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.protagonist - a person who backs a politician or a team etc.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"
advocate, advocator, exponent, proponent - a person who pleads for a cause or propounds an idea
anglophil, anglophile - an admirer of England and things English
believer, truster - a supporter who accepts something as true
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
enthusiast, partizan, partisan - an ardent and enthusiastic supporter of some person or activity
Francophil, Francophile - an admirer of France and everything French
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
loyalist, stalwart - a person who is loyal to their allegiance (especially in times of revolt)
New Dealer - a supporter of the economic policies in the United States known as the New Deal
Graecophile, philhellene, philhellenist - an admirer of Greece and everything Greek
mainstay, pillar - a prominent supporter; "he is a pillar of the community"
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
endorser, indorser, ratifier, subscriber - someone who expresses strong approval
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"
verifier, voucher - someone who vouches for another or for the correctness of a statement
Whig - a supporter of the American Revolution
2.protagonist - the principal character in a work of fictionprotagonist - 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)

protagonist

noun
1. supporter, leader, champion, advocate, exponent, mainstay, prime mover, standard-bearer, moving spirit, torchbearer an active protagonist of his country's membership of the EU
2. leading character, lead, principal, central character, hero or heroine the protagonist of J.D. Salinger's novel

protagonist

noun
The main performer in a theatrical production:
Translations
päähenkilö
主人公
hovedpersonprotagonist

protagonist

[prəʊˈtægənɪst] Nprotagonista mf

protagonist

[prəʊˈtægənɪst] nprotagoniste m/f

protagonist

n (esp Liter) → Protagonist(in) m(f); (= champion, supporter)Verfechter(in) m(f)

protagonist

[prəʊˈtægənɪst] nprotagonista m/f
References in classic literature ?
Another man looked out of his eyes--a man whose thoughts were of violence and hatred; a man to whom there was no good in anything, and who had become an ardent protagonist of the evil that was rampant aud universal.
There is a psychological school called "Behaviourists," of whom the protagonist is Professor John B.
It was these same protagonists of machine-civilization that discovered the great oil deposits of Chunsan, the iron mountains of Whang-Sing, the copper ranges of Chinchi, and they sank the gas wells of Wow-Wee, that most marvellous reservoir of natural gas in all the world.
The strong female protagonist in Brooklyn Graves offers an element of chick-lit to this enticing whodunit.
Again, Balaev circumnavigates this problem by focusing on the trauma of an individual protagonist. In chapter four of her text that analyzes Edward Abbey's Black Sun she identifies the trauma as the mysterious disappearance of the protagonist's girlfriend while she was hiking alone in the Grand Canyon.
The film follows a nameless protagonist who escapes in the opening of the prisons during the 18 days of protests.
It is not the voice of Nolan North, the lead voice for the protagonist from the previous Uncharted games.
editor Mike Goodridge in August to succeed Ben Roberts as CEO of Protagonist Pictures marks the start of a new chapter for the U.K.-based sales and financing outfit, which is backed by Film4, Vertigo Films and Ingenious Media.
Biutiful afforded him that change: a single-hero story whose protagonist Uxbal (Javier Bardem) is present in practically every shot of the film.
Altman's penchant for multiple protagonist narratives has been evident throughout his whole career: he has made ample use of this form to explore the nuances of human interaction, establishing in the process a set of conventions that have helped shape the genre through the years.
With so much at stake, McConnell takes a staggering risk with his unnamed and gloriously unreliable narrator, but the risk pays off brilliantly, as the reader's attention is so occupied with getting a bead on the protagonist's character and motivation that the big ideas insinuate themselves almost effortlessly.
As a symbolic and discursive space, the city in Eltit's Los vigilantes (1994) is both complex and difficult to negotiate partly because it is in a continuous state of flux: on the one hand, the city's spaces and its laws are responsible for the protagonist's besieged existence; on the other, the partial anonymity possible only in a large urban area provides her with a hiding space in which she begins to write a testimony of rebellion and resistance.