Trojan horse

[ troh-juhn hawrs ]

  1. Classical Mythology. a gigantic hollow wooden horse, left by the Greeks upon their pretended abandonment of the siege of Troy. The Trojans took it into Troy and Greek soldiers concealed in the horse opened the gates to the Greek army at night and conquered the city.

  2. a person or thing intended to undermine or destroy from within.

  1. Also called Tro·jan .Computers. a nonreplicating computer program planted illegally in another program to do damage locally when the software is activated.

Origin of Trojan horse

First recorded in 1570–80, in 1835–40 for def. 2, and in 1970–75 for def. 3

Words Nearby Trojan horse Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use Trojan horse in a sentence

  • He might have made you think of the Trojan horse—innocuous without, but teeming with belligerent activity within.

  • The Trojan horse, the grand successful stratagem, may be considered as the outcome.

    Homer's Odyssey | Denton J. Snider
  • In some ways, the ancient Trojan horse is an early example of deception.

    Shock and Awe | Harlan K. Ullman
  • The next whim of this vain, fantastic, and crazy man, was to prove that the Trojan horse could really have been constructed.

    Haunted London | Walter Thornbury
  • There was no lack of guests at the Trojan horse, where we had taken up our abode at Valladolid.

    The Bible in Spain | George Borrow

British Dictionary definitions for Trojan Horse

Trojan Horse

  1. Also called: the Wooden Horse Greek myth the huge wooden hollow figure of a horse left outside Troy by the Greeks when they feigned retreat and dragged inside by the Trojans. The men concealed inside it opened the city to the final Greek assault

  2. a trap intended to undermine an enemy

  1. computing a bug inserted into a program or system designed to be activated after a certain time or a certain number of operations

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

Cultural definitions for Trojan Horse

Trojan Horse

In classical mythology, a large, hollow horse made of wood used by the Greeks to win the Trojan War (see also Trojan War). The resourceful Odysseus had come up with the plan for the horse. The Greeks hid soldiers inside it and left it outside the gates of Troy. They anchored their ships just out of sight of Troy and left a man behind to say that the goddess Athena would be pleased if the Trojans brought the horse inside the city and honored it. The Trojans took the bait, against the advice of Cassandra and Laocoon. That night the Greek army returned to Troy. The men inside the horse emerged and opened the city gates for their companions. The Greeks sacked the city, thus winning the war.

Notes for Trojan Horse

The story of the Trojan horse is the source of the saying “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.”

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.