Share this entry

Share this page


Syllabification: an·tag·o·nist
Pronunciation: /anˈtaɡənəst

Definition of antagonist in English:


1A person who actively opposes or is hostile to someone or something; an adversary: he turned to confront his antagonist
More example sentences
  • Most of these countries, of course, are traditional adversaries or antagonists.
  • It also means that copyright gives no one the exclusive right to tell stories about archaeologists in search of artifacts hidden in snake-infested caves while simultaneously confronting dangerous human antagonists.
  • They wander off on their own, they blow up a poacher's shack for no apparent reason, and they attempt to confront their wily antagonists head on.
(antagonists)opposition, competition
1.1 Biochemistry A substance that interferes with or inhibits the physiological action of another. Compare with agonist.
Example sentences
  • Progress has been made in the development of new anti-emetic drugs, particularly the serotonin antagonists which are potent inhibitors of chemotherapy-induced vomiting.
  • It is also an effective antagonist or inhibitor of cortisol, a stress hormone that maintains the integrity of the circulatory system.
  • The use of selective serotonin antagonists for early-onset alcohol dependence also has been investigated, with positive results.
1.2 Anatomy A muscle whose action counteracts that of another specified muscle. Compare with agonist.
Example sentences
  • The anterior tibialis muscle was chosen because of its function as an antagonist to the peroneal muscles.
  • This can be studied by transposing the innervation of a muscle to its antagonist, or by transposing one of its tendons to the opposite side of a joint, such that the mechanical action of the muscle is reversed.
  • Moving through a complete range of motion will strengthen the agonist and stretch the antagonist muscle.


late 16th century: from French antagoniste or late Latin antagonista, from Greek antagōnistēs, from antagōnizesthai 'struggle against' (see antagonize).

Definition of antagonist in:

Share this entry

Share this page


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day ingratiate
Pronunciation: inˈɡrāSHēˌāt
bring oneself into favor with someone through flattery…