protagonist (n.)

1670s, "principal character in a story, drama, etc.," from Greek protagonistes "actor who plays the chief or first part," from protos "first" (from PIE root *per- (1) "forward," hence "in front of, first, chief") + agonistes "actor, competitor," from agon "contest" (from PIE root *ag- "to drive, draw out or forth, move"). Meaning "leading person in any cause or contest" is from 1889. Mistaken sense of "advocate, supporter" (1935) is from misreading of Greek protos as Latin pro- "for." Compare antagonist. Deuteragonist "second person or actor in a drama" is from 1840.

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