from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun One who opposes and contends against another; an adversary.
  • noun The principal character in opposition to the protagonist or hero of a narrative or drama.
  • noun Physiology A muscle that counteracts the action of another muscle, the agonist.
  • noun A drug or chemical substance that interferes with the physiological action of another, especially by combining with and blocking its nerve receptor.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun One who contends with another in combat or in argument; an opponent; a competitor; an adversary.
  • noun In anatomy, a muscle which acts in opposition to another: as, a flexor, which bends a part, is the antagonist of an extensor, which extends it.
  • Counteracting; opposing; combating: as, antagonist forces; an antagonist muscle.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Antagonistic; opposing; counteracting.
  • noun One who contends with another, especially in combat; an adversary; an opponent.
  • noun (Anat.) A muscle which acts in opposition to another.
  • noun (Med.) A medicine which opposes the action of another medicine or of a poison when absorbed into the blood or tissues.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun An opponent or enemy.
  • noun One who antagonizes or stirs.
  • noun biochemistry A chemical that binds to a receptor but does not produce a physiological response, blocking the action of agonist chemicals.
  • noun The main character or force opposing the protagonist in a literary work or drama.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a drug that neutralizes or counteracts the effects of another drug
  • noun someone who offers opposition
  • noun a muscle that relaxes while another contracts


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin antagonista, from Ancient Greek ἀνταγωνιστής ("opponent") (ἀντί (anti, "against") + ἀγωνιστής (agōnistēs, "a combatant, pleader, actor")), from ἀνταγωνίζεσθαι ("antagonize").


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word antagonist.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.