Definition of protest in English:

Share this entry



Pronunciation: /ˈprōˌtest/
1A statement or action expressing disapproval of or objection to something: the Hungarian team lodged an official protest two senior scientists resigned in protest
More example sentences
  • Anyone in their right mind would have stormed out in protest, holding their stomachs.
  • In protest, town officials took down their provincial flags.
  • In protest, the opposition did not participate in the vote, speaking of fraud and a ‘law of shame.’
objection, complaint, exception, disapproval, challenge, dissent, demurral, remonstration, fuss, outcry
1.1An organized public demonstration expressing strong objection to a policy or course of action adopted by those in authority: [as modifier]: a protest march
More example sentences
  • The fact that the public have to resort to demonstrations or angry protests against administration policy show that there is something currently wrong with the relationship.
  • People are making their own efforts to organise demonstrations and protest marches.
  • The incidences of violent crime are ongoing, and the more horrific ones usually spark some kind of immediate public reaction like a protest or a march.
demonstration, (protest) march, rally, counterdemonstration;
sit-in, occupation;
work-to-rule, industrial action, (work) stoppage, strike, walkout, mutiny, picket, boycott
2 Law A written declaration, typically by a notary public, that a bill has been presented and payment or acceptance refused.


Pronunciation: /prəˈtest/
Pronunciation: /prōˈtest/
1 [no object] Express an objection to what someone has said or done: she wouldn’t let him pay, and he didn’t protest
More example sentences
  • To our objections, he protested that he had repeated our order back to us, and this is what we had ordered.
  • Is it any wonder that eventually they begin to complain and protest?
  • It's as if they know, no matter how much they complain or protest, nothing will change.
express opposition, object, dissent, take issue, make/take a stand, put up a fight, kick, take exception, complain, express disapproval, disagree, demur, remonstrate, make a fuss;
cry out, speak out, rail, inveigh, fulminate
informal kick up a fuss/stink
1.1Publicly demonstrate strong objection to a policy or course of action adopted by those in authority: doctors and patients protested against plans to cut services at the hospital
More example sentences
  • Small farmers and health service workers have also repeatedly protested against government policies.
  • Thousands of Greek workers protested against the government's economic policies in the city of Thessaloniki on September 10.
  • However, his prayers did not avert the famous Morozov strike of 1885, when his 8,000 workers protested against the fines.
demonstrate, march, hold a rally, sit in, occupy somewhere;
work to rule, take industrial action, stop work, strike, go on strike, walk out, mutiny, picket;
boycott something
1.2 [with object] North American Publicly demonstrate an objection to (a policy or course of action): the workers were protesting economic measures enacted a week earlier
More example sentences
  • The demonstration follows a number of strikes and demonstrations held during the summer protesting the economic policies of the government.
  • Security is tight in Washington, D.C. as demonstrators protest the policies of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
  • In Berlin, left-wing protesters were out in force protesting government economic policies.
2 [reporting verb] Declare (something) firmly and emphatically in the face of stated or implied doubt or in response to an accusation: [with direct speech]: “I’m not being coy!” Lucy protested [with object]: she has always protested her innocence
More example sentences
  • He has always protested his innocence, claiming that on the night of the shooting he was with a friend.
  • He has consistently protested his innocence and declared he has ‘a full answer’ to them.
  • Contemporary dance is constantly called upon to protest its relevance against accusations of complacency and pretentiousness.
insist on, maintain, assert, affirm, announce, proclaim, declare, profess, contend, argue, claim, vow, swear (to), stress
formal aver
3 [with object] Law Write or obtain a protest in regard to (a bill).


under protest

After expressing one’s objection or reluctance; unwillingly: “I’m only here under protest,” Jenna said shortly
More example sentences
  • The ‘official’ gear was worn; the tape was simply an indication that it was being worn under protest and, on the scale of protests, it was pretty mild.
  • Did they pay the marginal increase that they are objecting to under protest, as it were, or have they just refused to pay it, so they are not out of pocket for it?
  • He said legislators were making their amendment under protest but would proceed with their debate on May 19 because several wanted their objections to be noted in the official record.



Pronunciation: /prəˈtestiNGlē/
Pronunciation: /prōˈtestiNGlē/
Example sentences
  • It had been there a lot longer than the Chronicle offices and sometimes protestingly pushed out a gnarled root, rupturing the car park surface, like the finger of a buried monster trying to claw its way out of a tarmac tomb.
  • A stiff breeze was coming in great gusts that agitated the bare limbs of trees as though bringing them protestingly to life.
  • He takes me behind a tree, where I protestingly pull free of his grip.


Late Middle English (as a verb in the sense 'make a solemn declaration'): from Old French protester, from Latin protestari, from pro- 'forth, publicly' + testari 'assert' (from testis 'witness').

  • testicle from Late Middle English:

    The ancient Romans felt that a man's testicles testified that he was male. They formed the word testiculus from Latin testis ‘witness’, the source also of attest (late 16th century); detest (Late Middle English) which originally meant to denounce; protest (Late Middle English); testify (Late Middle English); and intestate (Late Middle English) ‘without a witnessed will’. The testicles were the ‘witnesses’ of the man's virility.

Words that rhyme with protest

abreast, arrest, attest, beau geste, behest, bequest, best, blessed, blest, breast, Brest, Bucharest, Budapest, celeste, chest, contest, crest, digest, divest, guest, hest, infest, ingest, jest, lest, Midwest, molest, nest, northwest, pest, prestressed, quest, rest, self-addressed, self-confessed, self-possessed, southwest, suggest, test, Trieste, unaddressed, unexpressed, unimpressed, unpressed, unstressed, vest, west, wrest, zest

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pro·test

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.