Part of speech: adjective
Origin: Greek, late 16th century
Extremely changeable, easily assuming different forms
Displaying versatility or diversity
Examples of Protean in a sentence
"The superhero was a valuable member of the team, with his protean ability to shapeshift into any figure."
"The artist’s protean ability meant that you never knew what kind of work you would see at her next show. "
Popularity Over Time
Anyone with protean tendencies will love Halloween because of the opportunity to turn into any kind of character they can imagine. But the tradition of dressing up in costume for Halloween has roots going back to the 16th century. In Celtic tradition people would use costumes to hide from or frighten spirits. The practice has evolved over the years into the celebration of clever costumes and candy that it is today.
Did you Know?
Don’t get this confused with the similarly spelled protein. Protean comes from the Greek god Proteus, who had the ability to change shapes and tell the future. What a pair of talents — foresee something you don’t like? Just change shapes and get out of there.