Webster 1913 Edition



, L.
, Gr.
An illustrious man, supposed to be exalted, after death, to a place among the gods; a demigod, as Hercules.
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.
Each man is a
and oracle to somebody.
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 Aeneas in the Aeneid.
The shining quality of an epic
Hero worship
extravagant admiration for great men, likened to the ancient worship of heroes.
Hero worship
exists, has existed, and will forever exist, universally among mankind.

Webster 1828 Edition



[L. heros; Gr. a demigod.]
A man of distinguished valor, intrepidity or enterprise in danger; as a hero in arms.
A great, illustrious or extraordinary person; as a hero in learning. [Little used.]
In a poem, or romance, the principal personage, or the person who has the principal share in the transactions related; as Achilles in the Iliad, Ulysses in the Odyssey, and Aeneas in the Aeneid.
In pagan mythology, a hero was an illustrious person, mortal indeed, but supposed by the populace to partake of immortality, and after his death to be placed among the gods.

Definition 2023



See also: hero and Héró


Proper noun


  1. (Greek mythology) Any of a number of legendary men and women, including the priestess loved by Leander.
  2. (rare) A female given name of English-speakers.
    • 1600, William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing, Act I,Scene 1:
      You hear, Count Claudio: I can be secret as a dumb man; I would have you think so; but on my allegiance mark you this, on my allegiance: he is in love. With who? now that is your Grace's part. Mark how short his answer is: with Hero, Leonato's short daughter.


statuo de Hero


From Ancient Greek Ἥρᾱ (Hḗrā)

Proper noun

Hero (accusative Heron)

  1. (Greek mythology) Hera, Greek queen of the gods, goddess of marriage and birth



See also: Hero and Héró


Alternative forms


hero (plural heroes, feminine heroine)

  1. Somebody who possesses great bravery and carries out extraordinary deeds.
    • 1986 August 10, “Cancer victim some kind of hero”, in The Advocate, Baton Rouge, LA:
      "I'm no hero," insists freckle-faced 14-year-old Freddie Hanberry. But to many of the young cancer patients, nurses and staff at University Medical Center here, he is as close as you can get. The "hero" talk began when a national magazine featured Hanberry, who has leukemia, in a special section called "100 New American Heroes."
    • 1993, Susanne Baxandall; Prasuna Reddy, The Courage to Care: The Impact of Cancer on the Family:
      Every cancer victim is a true hero.
    • 2011 September 12, Eileen Faust, “5-year-old Phoenixville cancer victim loses fight”, in The Mercury:
      She is my hero, my heart, my baby till the end of time,” said Gabby's father
    • 2011 September 12, Jen Armstrong, “Sherrill honors heroes of 9/11”, in Oneida Dispatch:
      Each flag represents a hero, Andrews said, whether a first responder or victim of 9/11, active, fallen, or retired military, special friend or family member.
  2. A role model.
  3. The main protagonist in a work of fiction.
    • 1987, Kamil Zvelebil, Two Tamil Folktales: The Story of King Matan̲akāma, The Story of Peacock Rāvaṇa, ISBN 8120802128, page xlii:
      However, even this great hero of the story is somewhat of a simpleton (when he lets himself be crucially deceived by Peacock Ravana in Vibhisana's shape), and a weakling (when in spite of all his strength he is almost beaten by his own son, one of the rākṣasas)
    • 1992, The Tragic Hero Through the Ages, page 242:
      Satan is wrongly called the hero of Paradise Lost. He is really the villain-hero or the counter-hero
  4. (poker) The current player, especially an hypothetical player for example and didactic purposes. Compare: villain (any opponent player). Not to be confused with hero call (a weak call against a supposed bluff).
    Let's discuss how to play if the hero has KK, and there's an ace on board.
  5. (US) A large sandwich made from meats and cheeses; a hero sandwich.
  6. (food styling, chiefly attributive) The product chosen from several candidates to be photographed.
    • 2003, Solomon H. Katz, William Woys Weaver, Encyclopedia of Food and Culture
      The preparation of the hero food involves any number of specialized techniques food stylists have developed to deal with the demands of photographing food.
    • 2008, Linda Bellingham, Jean Ann Bybee, Brad G. Rogers, Food Styling for Photographers (page 8)
      Protect the hero food. Whether the hero items are on a table in the studio or in the refrigerator, freezer, etc., be sure they are identified as hero items and not for consumption.
    • 2008, David Random, Defying Gravity (page 24)
      The food stylists this day had spent inordinate amounts of time preparing the hero product for a close-up scene.


  • see Wikisaurus:hero
  • (sandwich): see sub

Derived terms

Related terms



  1. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition (2000)
  2. Webster's New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition (1999)





  1. to love