a person who is opposed to, struggles against, or competes with another; opponent; adversary.
the adversary of the hero or protagonist of a drama or other literary work:
Iago is the antagonist of Othello.
Physiology. a muscle that acts in opposition to another.
Compare (def 3).
Dentistry. a tooth in one jaw that articulates during mastication or occlusion with a tooth in the opposing jaw.
Pharmacology. a drug that counteracts the effects of another drug.
Contemporary Examples

Indeed, you seem to relish the role of antagonist—to traditional media, to basketball referees.
Mark Cuban Shoots Straight Peter Lauria February 13, 2011

“Here’s the thing: It’s not just because he eats like a farm animal,” she says of her antagonist stance.
The Trailer Park Gourmet Rachel Syme November 9, 2009

Reliance on foreign militaries for its own integrity changes the status of Ukraine from a buffer to an antagonist.
Caught Between Empires, Ukraine Can’t Rely on the West for its Independence Roman Skaskiw March 5, 2014

The Greek word agon is the root of our words “antagonist” and “agony.”
The Olympics Wimps Out on Wrestling and Competition James Romm February 22, 2013

Religion has been both the antagonist and the ally of science.
How Noah’s Flood Spurred Science: David R. Montgomery’s ‘The Rocks Don’t Lie’ David Sessions August 27, 2012

Historical Examples

Barnes, looking around quickly to see who had read his inmost thoughts, met the firm glance of his antagonist.
The Strollers Frederic S. Isham

His intention was neither to kill nor to cripple his antagonist.
The Leopard Woman Stewart Edward White

It was my antagonist—it was Wilson, who then stood before me in the agonies of his dissolution.
The Works of Edgar Allan Poe Edgar Allan Poe

His antagonist was Dr. Gunning, ready, fluent, and impassioned.
The Works of Whittier, Volume VI (of VII) John Greenleaf Whittier

When Uncas had brained his first antagonist, he turned, like a hungry lion, to seek another.
The Last of the Mohicans James Fenimore Cooper

an opponent or adversary, as in a contest, drama, sporting event, etc
any muscle that opposes the action of another Compare agonist (sense 1)
a drug that counteracts the effects of another drug Compare synergist (sense 1)

1590s, from French antagoniste (16c.) or directly from Late Latin antagonista, from Greek antagonistes “competitor, opponent, rival,” agent noun from antagonizesthai “to struggle against, oppose, be a rival,” from anti- “against” (see anti-) + agonizesthai “to contend for a prize,” from agon “contest” (see agony). Originally in battle or sport, extended 1620s to any sphere of human activity.

antagonist an·tag·o·nist (ān-tāg’ə-nĭst)
Something, such as a muscle, disease, or physiological process, that neutralizes or impedes the action or effect of another.

A muscle that opposes the action of another muscle, as by relaxing while the other one contracts, thereby producing smooth, coordinated movement.

A chemical substance, such as a drug, that interferes with the physiological action of another substance, especially by combining with and blocking its nerve receptor. Compare agonist.


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