protagonist (plural protagonists)
- (authorship) The main character, or one of the main characters, in any story, such as a literary work or drama.
- Antonym: antagonist
- A leading person in a contest; a principal performer.
- (proscribed) An advocate or champion of a cause or course of action.
The use of protagonist to mean a proponent or supporter of a cause is a 20th century development that may have been influenced by the misunderstanding that the first syllable of the word is the prefix pro-, meaning favouring. This usage is widely considered to be erroneous.
- protagonist in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
- protagonist in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.
- ^ “protagonist” in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th edition, Boston, Mass.: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016, →ISBN.
- ^ Pinker, Steven (2014) The Sense of Style, New York, New York: Penguin, →ISBN
- ^ Feloni, Richard (30 November 2015), “The 58 Most Commonly Misused Words and Phrases”, in The Independent, Independent Print Limited