the leading character, hero, or heroine of a drama or other literary work.
a proponent for or advocate of a political cause, social program, etc.
the leader or principal person in a movement, cause, etc.
the first actor in ancient Greek drama, who played not only the main role, but also other roles when the main character was offstage. Compare deuteragonist, tritagonist.
Physiology, agonist.

1665–75; < Greek prōtagōnistḗs actor who plays the first part, literally, first combatant, equivalent to prôt(os) first + agōnistḗs one who contends for a prize, combatant, actor. See proto-, antagonist

protagonism, noun

antagonist, proponent, protagonist. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
protagonist (prəʊˈtæɡənɪst)
1.  the principal character in a play, story, etc
2.  a supporter, esp when important or respected, of a cause, political party, etc
[C17: from Greek prōtagōnistēs, from prōtos first + agōnistēs actor]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1671, "principal character in a story, drama, etc.," from Gk. protagonistes "actor who plays the chief or first part," from protos "first" (see proto-) + agonistes "actor, competitor," from agon "contest" (see act). Meaning "leading person in any cause or contest" is from 1889.
Mistaken sense of "advocate, supporter" (1935) is from misreading of Gk. protos as L. pro- "for."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
protagonist [(proh-tag-uh-nist)]

The principal character in a literary work. Hamlet, for example, is the protagonist of the play by William Shakespeare that bears his name.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Beware films with protagonists depicted as vastly more sensitive than their
  fellow characters.
After, the observer will give feedback to the protagonists and the protagonists
  will give feedback to each other.
Any time is good for a natural event, where the protagonists are the whales.
Usually when dinosaurs appear in comic books or on screen they are there to
  menace the human protagonists of the story.
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