Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A main character in a dramatic or narrative work who is characterized by a lack of traditional heroic qualities, such as idealism or courage.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A protagonist who proceeds in an unheroic manner, such as by criminal means, via cowardly actions, or for mercenary goals.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a protagonist who lacks the characteristics that would make him a hero (or her a heroine)

Etymologies

anti- +‎ hero. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • By that definition, an antihero is a flat character, one that is simply a placeholder in a story rather than a true protganist.

    Writer Unboxed » Blog Archive » Hero vs Antihero

  • Then our antihero is seen tenderly removing the fish from the boat’s hull.

    Finn (copy)

  • The antihero is a fictional Conservative Chief Whip, Francis Urquhart the entire concept came from the initials, 'F.U.' played by Ian Richardson.

    Sony Sets The Lords Day As Clancy-esque Thriller With Franchise Potential | /Film

  • Our antihero is the rookie racing-car sensation Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson), a go-it-alone, look-out-for-number-one showboat with an agent in Hollywood (who else but Jeremy Piven) and dreams of big-bucks corporate sponsorship.

    Life in the Fast Lane

  • Or maybe you did, but if so, it was a comic novel, and the main character got called an antihero.

    The Women’s Room

  • It is not surprising, then, that by the late-19th century, three-quarters of women were "out of health" and represented the single largest market for therapeutic services, allowing doctors like Silas Weir Mitchell, the rest-cure physician who has been identified as the antihero of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper, to earn $60,000 a year in the

    The Young Turks

  • The Six are six (and frequently five) down-on-their-luck folk who range from "antihero" to "supervillian, but not right at the moment" who go around committing crimes for pay (and often, balking at the last minute from particular crimes, and thus not getting paid).

    Adult Fic, I Read That Too

  • The basketball star turned senator turned deep thinker had developed a Zen-like approach to politics, casting himself as a kind of antihero who never stoops to conquer.

    Caught In Clinton's Shadow

  • A Streetcar Named Desire (1947) is arguably the best American play (outside of O'Neill), but never again will there be Tennessee Williams exploding into maturity, Marlon Brando creating a new kind of antihero or Elia Kazan becoming the key director of a golden age.

    What Becomes A Legend?

  • Or is he some kind of antihero, a man whose appetite for life (however stupidly indulged) just won't quit?

    Thanks to René Jacobs,

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.