Meaning of agonist in English:



  • 1Biochemistry
    A substance which initiates a physiological response when combined with a receptor.

    • ‘They may mimic naturally occurring steroids, act as hormone receptor agonists or antagonists or alter the enzymes responsible for hormone synthesis and degradation.’
    • ‘Medications that can reduce androgen levels include estrogen, gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists, and glucocorticoids.’
    • ‘These observations provide support for the model that glucose and structurally related sugars are agonists of the Gpr1 receptor.’
    • ‘For example, the highly potent opioid receptor agonist etorphine is not a medically useful drug because it can only be used a few times before the body becomes desensitized to the drug.’
    • ‘Opioid receptor agonists act at sites that are distributed throughout this circuit to produce analgesia.’
  • 2Anatomy
    A muscle whose contraction moves a part of the body directly.

    as modifier ‘there is a failure to select the right agonist muscles’
    Compare with antagonist
    • ‘In addition, we believe that the agonist / antagonist muscle ratios are important values when considering how the scapula provides stability, mobility, and symptom-free function.’
    • ‘The agonist and antagonist muscles work in concert to create muscular balance in the human body.’
    • ‘It's a matter of muscle aesthetics: The upper arm looks best when both its opposing muscle groups, the agonists and antagonists - that's bis and tris to you - carry a complementary amount of muscle.’
    • ‘Muscles may act as agonists, antagonists, synergics and fixators.’
    • ‘Alternate between agonist and antagonist muscle groups (e.g… quadriceps and hamstrings), and alternate sides.’
  • 3

    another term for protagonist

    ‘But now, replying to Harapha’s taunts with a startling invitation to combat, Samson is confident as the agonist was never before depicted.’
    another term for protagonist
    ‘To every agonist, there is an antagonist.’


Early 20th century from Greek agōnistēs ‘contestant’ (a sense reflected in English in the early 17th century), from agōn ‘contest’.