a person engaged in a contest, conflict, struggle, etc., especially the protagonist in a literary work.
a person who is torn by inner conflict.
Physiology. a contracting muscle whose action is opposed by another muscle. Compare antagonist ( def 3 ).
Pharmacology. a chemical substance capable of activating a receptor to induce a full or partial pharmacological response. Compare antagonist ( def 5 ).

1620–30; < Late Latin agōnista < Greek agōnistḗs contestant, equivalent to agṓn agon + -istēs -ist Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
agonist (ˈæɡənɪst)
1.  Compare antagonist any muscle that is opposed in action by another muscle
2.  a competitor, as in an agon
[C17: from Greek agōnagon]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1914, in writings on Gk. drama, from Gk. agonistes, lit. "combatant in the games" (see agony).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

agonist ag·o·nist (āg'ə-nĭst)

  1. A contracting muscle that is resisted or counteracted by an antagonistic muscle.

  2. A substance that can combine with a cell receptor to produce a reaction typical for that substance.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
agonist   (āg'ə-nĭst)  Pronunciation Key 
  1. A muscle that actively contracts to produce a desired movement.

  2. A chemical substance, especially a drug, that can combine with a receptor on a cell to produce a physiologic response. Compare antagonist.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
Rescue inhalers usually contain albuterol, a short-acting beta agonist.
Exhale as you contract the agonist muscle and inhale as you return to start position.
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