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See also: Antagonist



From Latin antagonista, from Ancient Greek ἀνταγωνιστής (antagōnistḗs, opponent) (ἀντί (antí, against) + ἀγωνιστής (agōnistḗs, a combatant, pleader, actor)), from ἀνταγωνίζεσθαι (antagōnízesthai, antagonize).


  • IPA(key): /ænˈtæɡənɪst/
  • (file)


antagonist (plural antagonists)

  1. An opponent or enemy.
    • Milton
      antagonist of Heaven's Almighty King
    • Hooker
      our antagonists in these controversies
  2. One who antagonizes or stirs.
  3. (biochemistry) A chemical that binds to a receptor but does not produce a physiological response, blocking the action of agonist chemicals.
    • 2001: The calcium antagonists represent one of the top ten classes of prescription drugs in terms of commercial value, with worldwide sales of nearly $10 billion in 1999. — Leslie Iversen, Drugs: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford 2001, p. 41)
  4. The main character or force opposing the protagonist in a literary work or drama.
  5. (anatomy) A muscle that acts in opposition to another.
    A flexor, which bends a part, is the antagonist of an extensor, which extends it.


Related terms[edit]