[proh-tee-uhn, proh-tee-]
readily assuming different forms or characters; extremely variable.
changeable in shape or form, as an amoeba.
(of an actor or actress) versatile; able to play many kinds of roles.
(initial capital letter) of, pertaining to, or suggestive of Proteus.

1590–1600; Prote(us) + -an

proteanism, noun

protean, protein. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
protean (prəʊˈtiːən, ˈprəʊtɪən)
readily taking on various shapes or forms; variable
[C16: from Proteus]

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

1598, from Gk. Proteus, sea god (son of Oceanus and Tethys) who could change his form; his name is lit. "first," from protos "first."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

protean pro·te·an (prō'tē-ən, prō-tē'-)
Readily taking on varied shapes, forms, or meanings.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Example sentences
For the protean, stubborn gram-negatives, they have no new compounds in the
  pipeline at all.
The performance was a series of wonderful protean transformations.
No one definition can fit phenomenon as protean as the culture wars.
To his many enemies, this trajectory was still another proof of his protean and
  opportunistic nature.
Related Words
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