Definition of antagonist in English:

antagonist

noun

  • 1A person who actively opposes or is hostile to someone or something; an adversary.

    ‘he turned to confront his antagonist’
    • ‘In addition, Taoists sometimes saw in Buddhism an antagonist and competitor rather than a colleague.’
    • ‘And more significantly, political and technical help has to be given in abundance for peaceful negotiations with the antagonists.’
    • ‘Where established governments proscribe popular vengeance in favor of legal prosecution, these revolutions liberated armed antagonists from judicial constraints.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, their antagonists, soldiers, are ordinary people on ordinary pay, fighting - a thing that isn't attractive or tidy.’
    • ‘Protagonists generally have needs, desires, goals, aversions and fears, and their efforts to achieve their goals are generally complicated or thwarted by an antagonist, who may be hostile to the protagonist.’
    • ‘They wander off on their own, they blow up a poacher's shack for no apparent reason, and they attempt to confront their wily antagonists head on.’
    • ‘The stakes of nuclear war engage not just the survival of the antagonists, but the fate of mankind.’
    • ‘After breaking through my emotional blocks, I was ready to confront the antagonists in my life who contributed to my problem.’
    • ‘Most of these countries, of course, are traditional adversaries or antagonists.’
    • ‘Strikingly, however, mainstream political antagonists, and even some radical dissenters, embraced clashing versions of the egalitarian tradition.’
    • ‘It is critical that even as we unveil the motivation of opponents and antagonists, we are careful not to inadvertently help them in their effort to disrupt our work.’
    • ‘When he'd regained equilibrium, he whirled around to confront his antagonist.’
    • ‘It also means that copyright gives no one the exclusive right to tell stories about archaeologists in search of artifacts hidden in snake-infested caves while simultaneously confronting dangerous human antagonists.’
    • ‘As ultimate commander of the military, he must now move decisively and evenhandedly to disarm the antagonists.’
    • ‘But, as fate would have it, Darcy was called home early, and the two old antagonists once more confronted each other.’
    • ‘About 4 000 French and 1 200 West African peacekeepers are patrolling the no man's land between the antagonists.’
    • ‘I don't know what I expected to hear or learn but I know what I did not expect was that it be turned into a party political broadcast on behalf of the main antagonists in the upcoming general election.’
    • ‘It's hard to have a really menacing antagonist when the antagonist isn't ever really sure what it is he's trying to accomplish.’
    • ‘Thus, when the culture wars began in the late 1960s, the antagonists of a traditional curriculum were pushing against an open door.’
    • ‘So the long and twisting battle begins, with numerous front-lawn confrontations between the two antagonists.’
    adversary, opponent, enemy, foe, nemesis, rival, competitor, contender
    View synonyms
  • 2Biochemistry
    A substance which interferes with or inhibits the physiological action of another.

    ‘LSD is a serotonin antagonist’
    Compare with agonist
    • ‘The use of selective serotonin antagonists for early-onset alcohol dependence also has been investigated, with positive results.’
    • ‘It is also an effective antagonist or inhibitor of cortisol, a stress hormone that maintains the integrity of the circulatory system.’
    • ‘Progress has been made in the development of new anti-emetic drugs, particularly the serotonin antagonists which are potent inhibitors of chemotherapy-induced vomiting.’
    • ‘Leukotriene inhibitors and leukotriene-receptor antagonists are effective in the treatment of inflammatory diseases such as asthma.’
    • ‘The serotonin antagonists are effective and have few side effects.’
  • 3Anatomy
    A muscle whose action counteracts that of another specified muscle.

    Compare with agonist
    • ‘Optimal functioning of the stabilizing muscles depends not only on the force production of these muscles in relation to synergists, antagonists, and prime movers of a joint, but also on the correct timing of muscle activation.’
    • ‘The anterior tibialis muscle was chosen because of its function as an antagonist to the peroneal muscles.’
    • ‘Moving through a complete range of motion will strengthen the agonist and stretch the antagonist muscle.’
    • ‘The group moving the body part is called the agonist with the opposing group called the antagonist.’
    • ‘This can be studied by transposing the innervation of a muscle to its antagonist, or by transposing one of its tendons to the opposite side of a joint, such that the mechanical action of the muscle is reversed.’

Origin

Late 16th century: from French antagoniste or late Latin antagonista, from Greek antagōnistēs, from antagōnizesthai ‘struggle against’ (see antagonize).

Pronunciation

antagonist

/anˈtaɡ(ə)nɪst/