V2 Vocabulary Building Dictionary



Definition: 1. the main character in a story; 2. a supporter of a cause

Synonyms: hero, heroine, lead, advocate, leader, champion, supporter

Antonyms: antagonist, critic, opponent

Tips: Protagonist is derived from the Greek protagonistes, "actor who plays the chief part." It comes from protos, "first" and agonistes, "actor, competitor." The word's second meaning of "supporter" was derived after people misread protagonistes as meaning "for a competitor." Therefore, a protagonist can be the champion of a cause, although the word "advocate" is probably a better choice in this context. The opposite word, antagonist is someone who opposes and fights against the protagonist, whether in fiction or real-life.

Usage Examples:

The story's biggest problem is that it lacks a strong protagonist. (hero)

She was a protagonist for women's issues and championed many cultural changes. (advocate, leader)

The audience did not seem happy when the protagonist of the play died at the end, and the antagonist survived. (lead, hero)

I have long been a protagonist for animal rights and have fought to keep the humane society in my neighborhood open. (advocate, champion)

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