[ 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.



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Origin of hero

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

usage note for hero

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.


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

Definition for hero (2 of 2)

[ heer-oh ]
/ ˈhɪər oʊ /


Classical Mythology. a priestess of Aphrodite who drowned herself after her lover Leander drowned while swimming the Hellespont to visit her.
Also He·ron [heer-on] /ˈhɪər ɒn/ .Hero of Alexandria, flourished 1st century a.d., Greek scientist.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for hero

British Dictionary definitions for hero (1 of 3)

/ (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)

/ (ˈhɪərəʊ) /


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)



/ (ˈhɪərəʊ) /


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

Scientific definitions for 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.