Definitions

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

  • n. The first martyr in a cause. Used especially of the first Christian martyr, Saint Stephen.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of the first Christian martyrs.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The first martyr; the first who suffers, or is sacrificed, in any cause; -- applied esp. to Stephen, the first Christian martyr.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The first martyr; the first of any series of martyrs; the first who suffers or is sacrificed in any cause; specifically, Stephen, the earliest Christian martyr.

Etymologies

proto- +‎ martyr (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Στέφανος is known as the protomartyr of Christianity and venerated by the Roman Catholic,

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  • This revolutionary approach was announced by a woman painter, Anita Malfatti, “the protomartyr of modernism,” whose forward-looking paintings in her second exhibition, in 1917, were derided by Monteiro Lobato He claimed that she simply contributed her own “-ism” in her paintings where a horse and rider fall over: “I call this genre topple-ism”.

    [Jose] Oswald de [Souza] Andrade

  • Stephen, deacon and protomartyr, was stoned to death by the Sanhedrin because of a vision he testified to Acts 7:55-57:

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  • Steven is the protomartyr for Christ, a deacon in the early Church, Saul St. Paul was there to witness the stoning.

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  • Alban, protomartyr of Britain and patron of my parish church.

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  • Sub hac capella ad aliquos gradus monstratur locus eiusdem cænationis, videlicèt cærnaculí magni, et in eo vas, aquarum, in quo Christus lauabat pedes Apostolorum: iuxta quod vas a Gamaliele, et alijs viris timoratis primus sepultus fuit protomartyr Stephanus.

    The Voyages and Travels of Sir John Mandeville

  • Sub hac capella ad aliquos gradus monstratur locus eiusdem c鎛ationis, videlic鑤 c鎟nacul� magni, et in eo vas, aquarum, in quo Christus lauabat pedes Apostolorum: iuxta quod vas a Gamaliele, et alijs viris timoratis primus sepultus fuit protomartyr Stephanus.

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  • How came they then to stone the protomartyr Stephen?

    From the Talmud and Hebraica

  • St. Alban's was founded, as its name implies, in honor of the English protomartyr, whose bones were said to have been discovered on that interesting site, and afterwards preserved with veneration in the abbey.

    Bibliomania in the Middle Ages

  • John Brown, the protomartyr of freedom, by his heroism, daring, intrepid perseverance, inspired, -- swallowed with one great idea, had stirred all Kansas and Missouri to fear, and carried off eleven slaves to Canada and set them free.

    History of the Negro Race in America from 1619 to 1880. Vol. 2 (of 2) Negroes as Slaves, as Soldiers, and as Citizens

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