• WordNet 3.6
    • adj protean taking on different forms "eyes...of that baffling protean grey which is never twice the same"
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Protean Exceedingly variable; readily assuming different shapes or forms; as, an amœba is a protean animalcule.
    • Protean Of or pertaining to Proteus; characteristic of Proteus. "Protean transformations."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • protean Pertaining to Proteus, a sea-god of classical mythology, who could change his shape at will; hence, readily assuming different shapes; exceedingly variable.
    • protean [lowercase] In zoöl, changeable in form; executing movements involving shifting of shape, as an animalcule; amœbiform or amœboid; amœban; of or pertaining to a proteus-animalcule. Also proteiform.
    • n protean An actor who plays a number of parts in one piece.
    • n protean A salamander of the family Proteidæ; a proteid.
    • protean In the geology of New York, a name applied by the geologists of the first State Survey to the rocks now termed the Clinton beds of the Silurian system: in allusion to the variable character of the component stratigraphic elements.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Protean prō′tē-an readily assuming different shapes, like Proteus, the sea-god, fabled to have the power of changing himself into an endless variety of forms: variable: inconstant.
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In literature:

The story of Proteus itself is Protean, and must be grasped in its essence through all its appearances.
"Homer's Odyssey" by Denton J. Snider
They are more to be dreaded than the protean devil of which you speak.
"The Witch of Salem" by John R. Musick
The writer shows all her old power of presenting the passion of love in each of its Protean phases.
"Werwolves" by Elliott O'Donnell
Our protean enemy took his most fearful form in the War when he became a Hidden Hand.
"Waiting for Daylight" by Henry Major Tomlinson
I should lack the alchemy by which I now infuse into my world light, colour, and the Protean spark.
"The World I Live In" by Helen Keller
Negro slavery is but one of the protean forms of disfranchised humanity.
"History of Woman Suffrage, Volume II"
This mighty but protean feeling I shall attempt to define on broader principles than has hitherto been done.
"The Religious Sentiment" by Daniel G. Brinton
His egotism is a curious variety of that Protean passion, compounded as skilfully as the melancholy of Jaques.
"Hours in a Library" by Leslie Stephen
He is, in truth, a very Protean personage.
"Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Volume 1, No. 4, September, 1850" by Various
But the old spirit assumes protean forms.
"Through Our Unknown Southwest" by Agnes C. Laut
Rochester's Protean exploits afforded amusement to the court for some time.
"Graham's Magazine, Vol XXXIII, No. 6, December 1848" by Various
Carlos and Manuel find themselves separated alike from each other, and from the mysterious and Protean patriot captain.
"Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 57, No. 353, March 1845" by Various
At my soul some Protean elf is; You're Simaetha; I am Delphis.
"One Day & Another" by Julius Madison Cawein
How is it possible to divine the meaning, or guess the wishes, of one whose nature seems so Protean?
"Diary And Notes Of Horace Templeton, Esq. Volume I (of II)" by Charles James Lever
The vicar made a dash for his discarded garments and performed a Protean act with amazing speed.
"The Gay Adventure" by Richard Bird
No other river displays such startling Protean changes.
"Furze the Cruel" by John Trevena
Yet it had so many guises, so many protean forms.
"The Promise of Air" by Algernon Blackwood
He emerged as the protean emblem of both good and evil.
"Demonology and Devil-lore" by Moncure Daniel Conway
Her essays and stories 'give proof of a versatility of experience as Protean as her talents.
"Atlantic Narratives" by Mary Antin
Then it is that this Protean country offers its most impressive aspect.
"The Mediterranean" by T. G. (Thomas Gray) Bonney, E. A. R. Ball, H. D. Traill, Grant Allen, and Arthur Griffiths

In poetry:

At my soul some Protean elf is;
You're Simaetha; I am Delphis.
You are Sappho and your Phaon,
I.--We love.--There lies a ray on
All the Dark Æolian seas
'Round the violet Lesbian leas.
"One Day And Another: A Lyrical Eclogue – Part II" by Madison Julius Cawein
And whence comes Life,--that occult Force,
So rich in its prolific range,
So frail and swift to run its course,
Yet deathless in protean change?
Must we not hope that Death will clear
The darkness here?
"Life's Trilogy" by John Lawson Stoddard

In news:

The author known for 'The Call of the Wild' was a man of protean passions.
The protean tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin touches down on numerous musical platforms on this bristling disc.
The Protean Bass of Rob Thorsen.
Protean Electric looks to revolutionize electric cars with in-wheel motors.
Protean Electric hasn't exactly reinvented the wheel, but what's inside of it is a different story.
Protean Electric CEO Bob Purcell (right) at the investment announcement today with Chinese officials.
An informational guide to Protean process-plant-centric software in the food and beverage industries is now available from Baan Process Solutions, part of Invensys Software systems.
Protean artists have always been drawn to Mozart's "The Magic Flute ".
If enough time passes, the extraordinarily protean HIV might evolve to overcome the mutant cells' invulnerability.
A lot of not-so-spring chicks are putting their stiletto heels down and asserting themselves in bubblegum culture, a protean, plastic limbo whose acne-scarred inhabitants normally tolerate only everlasting, virginal youth.
It is also the most protean.

In science:

The classical model plays a Protean role in Q.M.
Quantum Computation and Quantum Information: Are They Related to Quantum Paradoxology?
We understand some of these regularities as keys to the protean transition from weak to strong coupling.
Review of Theoretical Status: the Long and Short of High Energy Jets