Word of the Day
Thursday, July 23, 2009

Definitions for protean

  1. readily assuming different forms or characters; extremely variable.
  2. changeable in shape or form, as an amoeba.
  3. (of an actor or actress) versatile; able to play many kinds of roles.

Learn something
new every day


Thank youfor signing up
Get the Word of the Day Email
Citations for protean
A genius for the ages, a man who played wonderful yet, sometimes outrageous changes with art, Pablo Picasso remains without doubt, the most original, the most protean and the most forceful personality in the visual arts in the first three-quarters of this century. Alden Whitman, "Picasso: Protean and Prodigious, the Greatest Single Force in 70 Years of Art," New York Times, April 9, 1973
During the weeks that followed, Ena used to appear regularly at dusk, and I very quickly noticed that she had a protean quality about her. On some days she appeared to be slightly plumper than others, and I believed that her eyebrows were on some days heavier than others. Louis de Bernieres, The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman, 1992
Origin of protean
Protean comes from Proteus, the name of a sea god of classical mythology who was noted for his abilty to assume different forms and to prophesy. It entered English in the late 1500s.