Main definitions of hero in English

: hero1Hero2Hero3

hero1

noun

  • 1A person who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.

    ‘a war hero’
    • ‘The search for eight unsung Milnrow heroes of the Great War is proving frustrating for local historian Ralph Davidson.’
    • ‘As a nation, we ought to be thankful for the courage of unsung heroes who have sacrificed much to protect society.’
    • ‘The search is on to find an unsung sporting hero in Dulwich.’
    • ‘Facing the challenges of working in microgravity calls for fearless heroes and feats of courage.’
    • ‘Do the right thing: honor our fallen heroes and support our troops in the field.’
    • ‘Mantle had become a folk hero by then and Maris naturally became the villain.’
    • ‘I admired players but my heroes were the ones who were doing what I wanted to be doing or achieving in a year's time.’
    • ‘The whole class was filled with faces of disgust, but Nocte thought that it was noble of heroes to have hearts.’
    • ‘Bridgette and Francoise concentrated their energy on admiring their current hero.’
    • ‘The first dismissal arrived just two minutes later when Hale turned from hero to villain.’
    • ‘They may be dead and that is sad, and I feel for their families, but they are not martyrs or war heroes.’
    • ‘She never dreamed that she would be a decorated war hero.’
    • ‘Suddenly, the cowboy was elevated to the status of a national folk hero.’
    • ‘Without wanting to cast a slur on the undoubted courage of those naval heroes, Edwin wanted to give his books a slightly more modern twist.’
    • ‘My boyhood heroes in baseball were Ernie Banks, Billy Williams and Willie Mays.’
    • ‘However, once in a while, one of those no-hopers turns it around and becomes an unlikely cult hero.’
    • ‘Last year additions were made to the inscription on the Cenotaph honouring the fallen heroes of Johannesburg.’
    • ‘He enjoys books about boxing heroes, Irish and English history, philosophy and political history.’
    • ‘Generals and people who are war heroes rarely get his as hard as anyone else.’
    • ‘Andrei Sakharov observed that we always prefer dead heroes to living men and women who may have made mistakes.’
    brave man, champion, man of courage, great man, man of the hour, conquering hero, victor, winner, conqueror, lionheart, warrior, paladin, knight, white hat
    star, idol, superstar, megastar, celebrity, celebutante, luminary, lion
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The chief male character in a book, play, or film, who is typically identified with good qualities, and with whom the reader is expected to sympathize.
      ‘the hero of Kipling's story’
      • ‘Youngsters are impressionable as they are always trying to imitate the actions of their heroes in films and serials.’
      • ‘The occasion brought together two of the most talented heroes in the Tamil film industry.’
      • ‘Sari was bemoaning the plight of the hero on screen.’
      • ‘The last three US box-office-topping films all feature macho heroes.’
      • ‘To undo the damage, our heroes head to Tibet for the mysterious healing skills of the sequestered monks.’
      • ‘Mind you, the hero of this novel certainly got luckier than I ever did!’
      • ‘She's as strong and likable a female character as Davy is a male hero, making this a perfect bookend to book one.’
      • ‘The eponymous hero is played by the blue-eyed Peter O'Toole.’
      • ‘Suicidal sheep and comic book heroes inhabit this beguiling collection of far-fetched fables.’
      • ‘The hero of the first novel, Benjamin Trotter, longs for his first love.’
      • ‘It is an expected addition to the bulging league of comic book heroes that have made the transition to celluloid.’
      • ‘For this critic, there were only three comic book heroes who he could truly identify with.’
      • ‘Jimmy Shergil is fed up playing second fiddle to heroes in films.’
      • ‘All of the book's heroes inspire readers to take action in our own neighborhoods and situations.’
      • ‘The heroes on the big screen belong only to the American culture and not to any other either.’
      • ‘In several films the hero is a comical character, but the portrayal is gentle.’
      • ‘Ford is all the more impressive because he mainly played standard heroes.’
      • ‘Hindi film heroes were still learning to find their way around trees on one leg with women extending support only silently.’
      • ‘Almost all of Dostoevsky's heroes are extremely introspective and verbal creatures.’
      • ‘The least likely but most fascinating Republican candidate would be action hero turned politician Arnold Schwarzenegger.’
      male protagonist, principal male character
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 (in mythology and folklore) a person of superhuman qualities and often semi-divine origin, in particular one whose exploits were the subject of ancient Greek myths.
      • ‘The birth myths of supernatural heroes have been a subject of considerable interest to psychoanalysts.’
      • ‘The second concerns the Nibelung myth, which relates the story of the Germanic hero Siegfried.’
      • ‘There were many stories of ancient heroes such as the tale of ‘Beowulf’ or the Norse Sagas.’
      • ‘He helped heroes defeat sea monsters, if I recall correctly.’
      • ‘The myth of the solar hero can be found within many of the ancient civilisations even before the Christian era.’
      • ‘The second story transports us into the high-pitched world of the famous Greek heroes Ajax and Achilles.’
      • ‘Among the Asháninka, history and nature are explained through myths and heroes.’
      • ‘The myth of the hero has followed the same basic pattern in many cultures, and expresses a common ideal.’
      • ‘For Icarus is one of those Greek heroes who has got a bad press over the past 2,500 years.’
      • ‘From being servants of myths, heroes become puppets, overwhelmed by absurdity, groping for faith.’
      • ‘The Greek heroes, on the other hand, can use the mirror to avoid being turned to stone as they battle the petrifying Medusa.’
      • ‘The case may be illuminated by taking up the familiar parallel between the Greek heroes and the saints of early Christendom.’
      • ‘In ancient times, heroes traveled to the underworld before they dreamt of seeing heaven.’
      • ‘Numerous Greek heroes and heroines commit manslaughter in myth.’
      • ‘The oracle was consulted by Achilles, Heracles and other mythological heroes.’
      • ‘Unlike in the West, our viewers like to see their own heroes, stories, mythologies and melodrama.’
      • ‘The heroes and myths of the hill tribes of Cambodia are religious and familial in nature.’
      • ‘Like Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida, this emblem mocks Greek heroes while celebrating them as ideal exempla.’
      • ‘He certainly was the kind of figure who would have questioned a great deal of the myths concerning the gods and goddesses and heroes of the past.’
      • ‘There are ancient myths of creation and heroes that resemble those in Chinese mythology.’
    3. 1.3usually as modifier The best or most important thing in a set or group.
      ‘jumpsuits are hands down our hottest hero piece right now’
      ‘the hero of the range is the daily face peel’
  • 2North American

    another term for hoagie
    • ‘‘I'm having what's left of my hero sandwich,’ he responded as he sat down with his midnight snack.’
    • ‘Russell recalled being mesmerized by a picture of a hero sandwich that Chicca, an excellent artist, had drawn for him.’
    • ‘In a Norwegian language class, my teacher illustrated the meaning of the word matpakke - ‘packed lunch’ - by reaching into her backpack and pulling out a hero sandwich wrapped in wax paper.’
    • ‘Tuna - a delicious food, so versatile that you can eat it in a hero sandwich, splash it on a salad, or bake it gently in the oven.’
    • ‘Ask about this, as commercial mozzarella adds a rubbery texture and no flavor to a hero.’
    • ‘She sat on an overturned twenty-liter bucket (her clothes were too filthy to sit on anything else) and munched a hero sandwich with reflective enjoyment.’
    • ‘A little larger than a hero sandwich, it carries a box of flies, a tippet spool, and a pair of pliers.’
    • ‘It's all the fun of your favorite meat and cheese hero sandwich elegantly mushed up and served in a bread bowl.’
    • ‘He grabbed a hero sandwich and munched on it to hide away his embarrassment.’

Phrases

  • from hero to zero

    • informal Used to refer to a sudden, rapid decline in popularity or success.

      ‘he went from hero to zero just three days after being hailed as one of England's World Cup stars’
      • ‘It went from hero to zero in less than 12 hours.’
      • ‘From zero to hero or from hero to zero?’
      • ‘A little movement of the hang point and you go from hero to zero.’
      • ‘How did the trust I chaired go from hero to zero in six months?’
      • ‘He has gone from hero to zero in just a few months.’
      • ‘He has gone from hero to zero sitting in a blue Benetton.’
      • ‘Also weird how one simple door in one of the rooms meant you were going from hero to zero.’
      • ‘His career illustrates how quickly someone can travel from hero to zero.’
      • ‘He was sacked by Chelsea and received a worldwide seven month ban, going from hero to zero in a year.’
      • ‘The army had disowned him and the media—as is their wont—had transformed him from hero to zero.’

Origin

Middle English (with mythological reference): via Latin from Greek hērōs.

Pronunciation

hero

/ˈhɪərəʊ/

Main definitions of hero in English

: hero1Hero2Hero3

Hero2

proper noun

Greek Mythology
  • A priestess of Aphrodite at Sestos on the European shore of the Hellespont, whose lover Leander, a youth of Abydos on the opposite shore, swam the strait nightly to visit her. One stormy night he was drowned and Hero in grief threw herself into the sea.

Pronunciation

Hero

/ˈhɪərəʊ/

Main definitions of hero in English

: hero1Hero2Hero3

Hero3

proper noun

  • (1st century), Greek mathematician and inventor; known as Hero of Alexandria. His surviving works are important as a source for ancient practical mathematics and mechanics. He described a number of hydraulic, pneumatic, and other mechanical devices, including elementary applications of the power of steam.

Pronunciation

Hero

/ˈhɪərəʊ/