Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun In mythology and legend, a man, often of divine ancestry, who is endowed with great courage and strength, celebrated for his bold exploits, and favored by the gods.
  • noun A person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life.
  • noun A person noted for special achievement in a particular field: synonym: celebrity.
  • noun The principal character in a novel, poem, or dramatic presentation.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In classical mythology, a superior being, distinguished from ordinary men chiefly by greater physical strength, courage, and ability, at the time of the Homeric poems still regarded as mortal, but from the time of Hesiod (about the eighth century b. c.) regarded as intermediate in nature between gods and men (a demigod), and immortal.
  • noun A man of distinguished valor, intrepidity, or enterprise in danger; a prominent or central personage in any remarkable action or event; one who exhibits extraordinary courage, firmness, fortitude, or intellectual greatness in any course of action.
  • noun The principal male personage in a poem, play, or story, or the person who has the chief place and share in the transactions related, as Achilles in the Iliad, Odysseus (Ulysses) in the Odyssey, Æneas in the Æneid.
  • noun A person regarded as heroic; one invested by opinion with heroic qualities.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Myth.) An illustrious man, supposed to be exalted, after death, to a place among the gods; a demigod, as Hercules.
  • noun A man of distinguished valor or enterprise in danger, or fortitude in suffering; a prominent or central personage in any remarkable action or event; hence, a great or illustrious person.
  • noun The principal personage in a poem, story, and the like, or the person who has the principal share in the transactions related; as Achilles in the Iliad, Ulysses in the Odyssey, and Æneas in the Æneid.
  • noun extravagant admiration for great men, likened to the ancient worship of heroes.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun this sense?) A real or mythical person of great bravery who carries out extraordinary deeds.
  • noun A role model.
  • noun The main protagonist in a work of fiction.
  • noun A large sandwich made from meats and cheeses; a hero sandwich.
  • noun The product chosen from several candidates to be photographed.

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

  • noun (Greek mythology) priestess of Aphrodite who killed herself when her lover Leander drowned while trying to swim the Hellespont to see her
  • noun a man distinguished by exceptional courage and nobility and strength
  • noun someone who fights for a cause
  • noun Greek mathematician and inventor who devised a way to determine the area of a triangle and who described various mechanical devices (first century)
  • noun a large sandwich made of a long crusty roll split lengthwise and filled with meats and cheese (and tomato and onion and lettuce and condiments); different names are used in different sections of the United States
  • noun (classical mythology) a being of great strength and courage celebrated for bold exploits; often the offspring of a mortal and a god
  • noun the principal character in a play or movie or novel or poem

Etymologies

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

[Earlier heroe, back-formation from heroes, heroes, from Latin hērōēs, pl. of hērōs, from Greek; see ser- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Via Latin hērōs ("hero"), from Ancient Greek ἥρως (hērōs, "demi-god, hero"), from Proto-Indo-European *ser- (“to watch over, protect”). Related to Latin servo ("protect"). Replaced Old English hæleþ.

Examples

  • VIEW FAVORITES yahooBuzzArticleHeadline = 'One man\'s hero is another\'s thief'; yahooBuzzArticleSummary = 'My nomination for our next \'local hero\': Steve Heller.

    OpEdNews - Quicklink: One man's hero is another's thief

  • Look as you please; if he had not been here, and a hero, -- a _hero_, -- I should be devoured by the flames.

    Rosin the Beau

  • In the same time period, NBC's little show that could, Chuck (8/7c), finds the title hero on a personal mission, tracking down his MIA spy mom (Linda Hamilton, very badass) while pretending to give up the spy game.

    The New Season in Review: Monday Madness

  • But somehow or another, the term hero has been cheapened.

    Barry Bortnick: Heroism in the Modern Era

  • The Phantom stars Ryan Carnes Desperate Housewives, Doctor Who as the title hero and as his alter ego, Chris Walker, in this re-imagined version of the classic comic strip, which has been updated to the present day.

    Archive 2009-04-05

  • Cole fills this story, in which the title hero battles some giant bugs, with wonderful intimations of super-speed, and a rather bewildering number of applications of the power in so short an amount of space.

    A few words about every single story in Supermen!

  • If Captain Sullenberger doesn't like the label hero, he would probably like sage even less.

    Stress: Better for Us Than We Think

  • The title hero is more aligned towards typical vampire behavior as an arrogant haughty alpha leader used to obedience until his dependant is abducted showing a rare weakness and then meeting the sleuth showing that rarity is a little more common than his minion thought.

    Raphael-D.B. Reynolds « The Merry Genre Go Round Reviews

  • The Phantom stars Ryan Carnes Desperate Housewives, Doctor Who as the title hero and as his alter ego, Chris Walker, in this re-imagined version of the classic comic strip, which has been updated to the present day.

    The Phantom Wears Velcro Sneakers | Major Spoilers - Comic Book Reviews and News

  • Upon first viewing, I was analyzing the minute details of the film so much that I had trouble following the story, which picks up 19 years after the previous film with the title hero Harrison Ford facing off with the Russians during the Red Scare of the 1950s.

    DVD Review: Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Comments

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  • "Do you know what the definition of a hero is? Someone who gets other people killed." - Zoe, "Serenity"

    December 18, 2007

  • I like this definition by Poets of the Fall (worth it for the weird video):

    'Is there a hero somewhere, someone who appears and saves the day:

    Someone who holds out a hand and turns back time?

    Is there a hero somewhere, someone who will never walk away,

    Who doesn't turn a blind eye to a crime?'

    December 18, 2007

  • See beauty.

    January 9, 2008