protean ADJECTIVE tending or able to change or adapt; variable or versatile.
ORIGIN from the Greek sea god Proteus, who was able to change shape at will.

English terms dictionary. 2015.

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  • Protean — Pro te*an, a. 1. Of or pertaining to Proteus; characteristic of Proteus. Protean transformations. Cudworth. [1913 Webster] 2. Exceedingly variable; readily assuming different shapes or forms; as, an am[oe]ba is a protean animalcule. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • protean — I adjective alterable, assuming different forms, changeable, changeful, everchanging, fluid, kaleidoscopic, metamorphic, mobile, modifiable, movable, multiform, multiphase, mutable, nonuniform, omniform, permutable, polymorphic, polymorphous,… …   Law dictionary

  • Protean — 1590s, from Gk. Proteus, sea god (son of Oceanus and Tethys) who could change his form; his name is lit. first, from protos first (see PROTO (Cf. proto )) …   Etymology dictionary

  • protean — *changeable, changeful, variable, mutable …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • protean — meaning ‘able to change form, versatile’ (after the ancient mythical figure Proteus), is normally pronounced with the stress on the first syllable, and is spelt with a small initial p …   Modern English usage

  • protean — protean1 [prōt′ē ən, prō tē′ən] adj. 1. [P ] of or like Proteus 2. very changeable; readily taking on different shapes and forms protean2 [prōt′ē ən] n. [ PROTE(IN) + AN] any of a group of insoluble derived proteins that are the first products of …   English World dictionary

  • Protean — Very variable; easily changing; or continually changing. Protean is not to be confused with protein (a member of a large group of chemicals necessary to and found in all living things). Protean refers to Proteus, the mythologic master of disguise …   Medical dictionary

  • protean — adjective /ˈprəʊ.tɪ.ən,prəʊˈtiː.ən,ˈproʊ.tɪ.ən,proʊˈtiː.ən/ a) Exceedingly variable; readily assuming different shapes or forms. An amoeba is a protean animalcule. b) Of or pertaining to Proteus; characteristic of Proteus. His plots and protean… …   Wiktionary

  • protean — [[t]pro͟ʊtiən[/t]] ADJ GRADED: usu ADJ n If you describe someone or something as protean, you mean that they have the ability to continually change their nature, appearance, or behaviour. [FORMAL] He is a protean stylist who can move from blues… …   English dictionary

  • protean — adjective 1) the protean nature of mental disorders Syn: ever changing, variable, changeable, mutable, kaleidoscopic, inconstant, inconsistent, unstable, shifting, unsettled, fluctuating, fluid, wavering, vacillating, mercurial, volatile;… …   Thesaurus of popular words

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