hero

[ heer-oh ]
/ ˈhɪər oʊ /

noun, plural he·roes; for 5 also he·ros.

a person noted for courageous acts or nobility of character: He became a local hero when he saved the drowning child.
a person who, in the opinion of others, has special achievements, abilities, or personal qualities and is regarded as a role model or ideal: My older sister is my hero. Entrepreneurs are our modern heroes.
the principal male character in a story, play, film, etc.
Classical Mythology.
  1. a being of godlike prowess and beneficence who often came to be honored as a divinity.
  2. (in the Homeric period) a warrior-chieftain of special strength, courage, or ability.
  3. (in later antiquity) an immortal being; demigod.
the bread or roll used in making a hero sandwich.

Origin of hero

1605–15; back formation from Middle English heroes (plural) < Latin hērōs (singular), hērōes (plural) < Greek hḗrōs, hḗrōes

Related forms

he·ro·like, adjectivesub·he·ro, noun, plural sub·he·roes.un·he·ro, noun, plural un·he·roes.un·he·ro·like, adjective

Usage note

In its earliest use, the word hero was applied almost exclusively to a man. The corresponding word heroine was–and still is–reserved for a woman. Hero is still sometimes used to refer specifically to a man: British heroes and heroines. But hero is now considered to be a gender-neutral word, and is also increasingly used to refer to a woman: a list of American heroes; Joan of Arc, a French hero. In the sense "the principal character in a story, play, etc.," a hero is male and a heroine is female: Margaret is the novel’s heroine.

Definition for hero (2 of 2)

Hero

[ heer-oh ]
/ ˈhɪər oʊ /

noun

Classical Mythology. a priestess of Aphrodite who drowned herself after her lover Leander drowned while swimming the Hellespont to visit her.
Also Heron. Hero of Alexandria, flourished 1st century a.d., Greek scientist.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hero

British Dictionary definitions for hero (1 of 3)

hero

/ (ˈhɪərəʊ) /

noun plural -roes

a man distinguished by exceptional courage, nobility, fortitude, etc
a man who is idealized for possessing superior qualities in any field
classical myth a being of extraordinary strength and courage, often the offspring of a mortal and a god, who is celebrated for his exploits
the principal male character in a novel, play, etc

Word Origin for hero

C14: from Latin hērōs, from Greek

British Dictionary definitions for hero (2 of 3)

Hero

1
/ (ˈhɪərəʊ) /

noun

Greek myth a priestess of Aphrodite, who killed herself when her lover Leander drowned while swimming the Hellespont to visit her

British Dictionary definitions for hero (3 of 3)

Hero

2

Heron

/ (ˈhɪərəʊ) /

noun

1st century ad, Greek mathematician and inventor
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

Science definitions for hero

Hero

[ hērō ]
First century ce

Greek mathematician who wrote on mechanics and invented many water-driven and steam-driven machines. He also developed a formula for determining the area of a triangle.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.