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[uh-kil-eez] /əˈkɪl iz/
noun, Classical Mythology.
the greatest Greek warrior in the Trojan War and hero of Homer's Iliad. He killed Hector and was killed when Paris wounded him in the heel, his one vulnerable spot, with an arrow.
Related forms
[ak-uh-lee-uh n, uh-kil-ee-] /ˌæk əˈli ən, əˈkɪl i-/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for Achilles
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Diomed was the Œtolian sun-god; Achilles was worshipped in Thessaly long before he became the hero of the tale of Troy.

    Short Studies on Great Subjects James Anthony Froude
  • We know from Homer that Achilles was musical as Odysseus was not.

    The Creed of the Old South 1865-1915 Basil L. Gildersleeve
  • Long has the bright sword, that shone like a torch, been laid aside, and the brave courage of the dauntless Achilles been stopped.

  • More fortunate than his predecessor (Achilles), he got off with a slight but enduring limp.

    White Lies Charles Reade
  • When Achilles came rushing towards him, his heart failed; he ran three times round the walls of the city.

    Authors of Greece T. W. Lumb
British Dictionary definitions for Achilles


(Greek myth) Greek hero, the son of Peleus and the sea goddess Thetis: in the Iliad the foremost of the Greek warriors at the siege of Troy. While he was a baby his mother plunged him into the river Styx making his body invulnerable except for the heel by which she held him. After slaying Hector, he was killed by Paris who wounded him in the heel
Derived Forms
Achillean (ˌækɪˈliːən) adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for Achilles

Greek hero of the Trojan War stories, son of Thetis and Peleus, his name is perhaps a compound of akhos "pain, grief" (see awe) + laos "the people, a people" (see lay (adj.)); or else it is from a pre-Greek language.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Achilles in Culture
Achilles [(uh-kil-eez)]

In classical mythology, the greatest warrior on the Greek side in the Trojan War. When he was an infant, his mother tried to make him immortal by bathing him in a magical river, but the heel by which she held him remained vulnerable. During the Trojan War, he quarreled with the commander, Agamemnon, and in anger sulked in his tent. Eventually Achilles emerged to fight and killed the Trojan hero Hector, but he was wounded in the heel by an arrow and died shortly thereafter.

Note: People speak of an “Achilles' heel” as the one weak or sore point in a person's character.
Note: The Achilles tendon runs from the heel to the calf.
Note: Achilles is the hero of Homer's Iliad.
Note: The phrase “wrath of Achilles” refers to the hero's anger, which caused so much destruction that Homer refers to it as his main theme in the first line of the Iliad.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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