"one who contends with another," 1590s, from French antagoniste (16c.) or directly from Late Latin antagonista, from Greek antagonistēs "competitor, opponent, rival," agent noun from antagonizesthai "to struggle against, oppose, be a rival," from anti "against" (see anti-) + agonizesthai "to contend for a prize," from agon "a struggle, a contest" (see agony). Originally in battle or sport, extended 1620s to any sphere of human activity.
updated on September 22, 2022
Dictionary entries near antagonist