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[hi-roh-ik] /hɪˈroʊ ɪk/
Also, heroical. of, relating to, or characteristic of a hero or heroine.
suitable to the character of a hero in size or concept; daring; noble:
a heroic ambition.
having or displaying the character or attributes of a hero; extraordinarily bold, altruistic, determined, etc.:
a heroic explorer.
having or involving recourse to boldness, daring, or extreme measures:
Heroic measures were taken to save his life.
dealing with or describing the deeds, attributes, etc., of heroes, as in literature.
of, relating to, or characteristic of the heroes of antiquity:
heroic mythology.
used in heroic poetry.
Compare heroic verse.
resembling heroic poetry in language or style; grandiloquent.
(of style or language) lofty; extravagant; grand.
larger than life-size:
a statue of heroic proportions.
Usually, heroics. heroic verse.
  1. flamboyant or extravagant language, sentiment, or behavior, intended to seem heroic.
  2. heroic action or behavior.
Origin of heroic
late Middle English
1540-50; < Latin hērōicus < Greek hērōïkós of, pertaining to a hero; compare late Middle English heroical, heroicus; see hero, -ic
Related forms
heroically, adverb
heroicalness, heroicness, heroicity
[heer-oh-is-i-tee] /ˌhɪər oʊˈɪs ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
nonheroic, adjective
nonheroical, adjective
nonheroically, adverb
nonheroicalness, noun
nonheroicness, noun
pseudoheroic, adjective
pseudoheroical, adjective
pseudoheroically, adverb
quasi-heroic, adjective
quasi-heroically, adverb
superheroic, adjective
superheroically, adverb
unheroic, adjective
unheroicness, noun
unheroical, adjective
unheroically, adverb
unheroicalness, noun
1, 2. dauntless, valiant, valorous, gallant, brave, courageous. 7. epic.
1, 2. cowardly. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for unheroic
Historical Examples
  • There are two ways of encountering an anti-climax, an heroic, an unheroic.

    Love and Lucy

    Maurice Henry Hewlett
  • And yet, despite his unheroic physique, he was quick and remorseless in action.

    They of the High Trails

    Hamlin Garland
  • The fight was most unpicturesque, most unheroic; but it was tolerably grim for all that.

    Tristram of Blent Anthony Hope
  • The Commandant winced, and shot a glance at the aged, unheroic figure.

    Major Vigoureux A. T. Quiller-Couch
  • What nonsense this is, and what an unheroic character it makes Philip!

    That Fortune Charles Dudley Warner
  • If his end was unheroic, the blot does not overshadow his life.

  • Montgomery, quiet and unheroic as it is today, has a stirring past.

    In Unfamiliar England Thomas Dowler Murphy
  • One hero the less in this world of unheroic, uninspired persons!

    Vendetta Marie Corelli
  • The spirit of this unheroic age was incarnate in the person of "Foxy" Ross.

    Glengarry Schooldays Ralph Connor
  • The unheroic but truthful pleasure-seeker then gave an unromantic snore.

    The Gay Adventure Richard Bird
British Dictionary definitions for unheroic


of, like, or befitting a hero
courageous but desperate
relating to or treating of heroes and their deeds
of, relating to, or resembling the heroes of classical mythology
(of language, manner, etc) extravagant
(prosody) of, relating to, or resembling heroic verse
(of the arts, esp sculpture) larger than life-size; smaller than colossal
(RC Church)
  1. held to such a degree as to enable a person to perform virtuous actions with exceptional promptness, ease and pleasure, and with self-abnegation and self-control: heroic virtue
  2. performed or undergone by such a person: the heroic witness of martyrdom
See also heroics
Derived Forms
heroically, adverb
heroicalness, heroicness, noun
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 unheroic



1540s, shortened from heroical (early 15c.), also heroycus "noble, magnanimous," from Latin heroicus "of a hero, heroic, mythical," from Greek heroikos "pertaining to heroes," from heros (see hero (n.1)). Earlier was heroical (early 15c.). The Heroic Age in Greece was the time before the return of the armies from the fall of Troy. Related: Heroically. Heroic verse (1610s), decasyllabic iambic, is from Italian.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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unheroic in Medicine

heroic he·ro·ic (hĭ-rō'ĭk)
Relating to a risky medical procedure that may endanger the patient but also has a possibility of being successful, whereas lesser action would result in failure.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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