Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The character second in importance to the protagonist in classical Greek drama.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A person in a secondary role, specifically the second most important character (after the protagonist).

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In the Gr. drama, an actor who played the second part, after that of the protagonist.

Etymologies

Greek deuteragōnistēs, an actor of second-class parts : deuteros, second; see deu-1 in Indo-European roots + agōnistēs, actor; see protagonist.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Ancient Greek δευτεραγωνιστής (deuteragonistes, literally "second actor"), originally in Greek drama, from ἀγωνιστής (agōnistēs, "a combatant, pleader, actor"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • “Bruno, two cat eyes, pointy teeth, and mouse-gray hair with two bare spots, as if from alopecia or impetigo.” deuteragonist The person second in importance to the protagonist in a drama.

    More Vocabulary from Eco « So Many Books

  • “A deuteragonist in that little drama, I had a moment of doubt.”

    More Vocabulary from Eco « So Many Books

  • The two absolutely essential things are, in the first place, a certain charm of mind and even manner, which is a purely instinctive gift; and, in the second place, real sympathy with, real interest in the deuteragonist.

    From a College Window

  • The deuteragonist or secondary person can at times tell us more of them than circumstances at furious heat will help them to reveal; and the Dame will have him only as an index-post.

    The Amazing Marriage — Volume 3

  • (deuteragonist) by Aeschylus, and a third (tritagonist) by Sophocles.

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol XIII No 3

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