Any of numerous eukaryotic organisms that are not fungi, plants, or animals and are chiefly unicellular or colonial. Protists that are multicellular do not have cells differentiated into tissues. The protists include the protozoans, certain algae, oomycetes, and slime molds.
[From New Latin Prōtista, former kingdom name, from Greek prōtista, neuter pl. of prōtistos, the very first, superlative of prōtos, first; see per1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
pro·tistan (-tĭstən) adj. & n.
pro′tis·tolo·gy (prō′tĭ-stŏlə-jē) n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.