Definition of antagonist in English:


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


  • 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.
    adversary, opponent, enemy, foe, rival, competitor; (antagonists) opposition, competition
  • 1.1 Biochemistry A substance that interferes with or inhibits the physiological action of another. Compare with agonist.
    More 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.
    More 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).

More definitions of antagonist

Definition of antagonist in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day kerf
Pronunciation: kərf
a slit made by cutting with a saw