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noun Classical Mythology.
  1. 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.
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Related formsAch·il·le·an [ak-uh-lee-uh n, uh-kil-ee-] /ˌæk əˈli ən, əˈkɪl i-/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for achillean

Historical Examples of achillean

  • They shall have an Achillean roar; and they shall sing by second nature.

    Lord Ormont and his Aminta, Complete

    George Meredith

  • I had inferred from his books, or magnified from some anecdotes, an impression of Achillean wrath,—an untamable petulance.

  • A photograph was produced of the earlier, more Achillean Kitchener, by way of settling that point.

    The Bonadventure

    Edmund Blunden

  • A copy of Blair's speech had been shown him at the station, and I was the sole witness of his Achillean wrath.

British Dictionary definitions for achillean


  1. 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
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Derived FormsAchillean (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

Word Origin and History for achillean


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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

achillean in Culture



In classical mythology, the greatest warrior on the Greek side in the Trojan War (see also 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.

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People speak of an “Achilles' heel” as the one weak or sore point in a person's character.


The Achilles tendon runs from the heel to the calf.


Achilles is the hero of Homer's Iliad.


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 New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.