Definition of heroic in English:



  • 1Having the characteristics of a hero or heroine; admirably brave or determined.

    ‘heroic deeds’
    ‘heroic bomb disposal experts’
    • ‘We don't have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change.’
    • ‘We're very excited with the opportunity to base a game on this time period when pilots were counted on to perform heroic and often suicidal deeds.’
    • ‘Where the most heroic character in the piece also happens to enjoy sadistic torture it's never going to be cheery and relentlessly upbeat, is it?’
    • ‘Plucky firefighter Mark Murphy is back home from his heroic mission to help rescue people trapped in the Algerian earthquake.’
    • ‘They want lively narrative, bold handling of intrepid if not downright heroic characters, and an unflinching recognition of our past militarism.’
    • ‘Why the emphasis on the heroic exertion of vision and historiography?’
    • ‘At present heroic missions are undertaken by activists who smuggle generic drugs into countries where their sale is prohibited.’
    • ‘Dear sir, we know no way to thank you for this heroic deed.’
    • ‘Dutt's heroic deed on the set of Mother India changed the course of his life.’
    • ‘She gives her character's heroic fantasies about the scoundrel Earnest an honest dignity without becoming farcical.’
    • ‘I do not mean to suggest that every heroic act must represent some form of collusion between the will of the achiever and the finger of God.’
    • ‘Wallace was a loser - a noble, brave, heroic loser, but still ultimately unsuccessful.’
    • ‘But in the Chinese as well as Western ideology, isn't it the heroic personality in an individual that counts?’
    • ‘She visited the cottage every day and the sprites brought gifts of seeds and flowers to show their appreciation for the heroic deed he had done.’
    • ‘I'm more in favour of this kind of character, rather than characters who demonstrate a heroic resolution.’
    • ‘He writes of the attempt to create a new myth around the heroic individual.’
    • ‘As he repeatedly said, war is really about survival - the only heroic thing an individual can do is survive.’
    • ‘The Arabian knights may be famous for their heroic deeds, but apparently word had failed to spread about their superb table manners.’
    • ‘Her heroic labours and vigilant eye saved me from more than mere typographical errors.’
    • ‘Every single one of them represents a heroic defeat.’
    brave, courageous, valiant, valorous, intrepid, bold, daring, audacious, superhuman, herculean, fearless, doughty, undaunted, dauntless, unafraid, plucky, indomitable, stout-hearted, lionhearted, mettlesome, venturesome, gallant, stalwart, chivalrous, noble
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Of or representing heroes or heroines.
      ‘early medieval heroic poetry’
      • ‘These include native law texts as well as heroic prose narratives and intricately crafted rhymed verse in hundreds of different meters.’
      • ‘To communicate King's heroic story, text panels alternate with images and objects in a variety of styles and mediums.’
      • ‘The cadence, phrasing, and rhythm of the language is very similar to that found in The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and in heroic contemporary Anglo-Saxon poetry.’
      • ‘Ranum marches the reader through examples of the heroic style in theatre, architecture, and art to show the increased anxiety over identity and status.’
      • ‘The company in the royal or noble hall provided the audience for a literature which mirrored the age: heroic lays recited by professional bards.’
      • ‘Most of the stories are heroic epics where the batir and his trusty horse save the clan and its livestock from danger.’
      • ‘Yukar usually refers to heroic poetry, chanted mainly by men, dealing with demigods and humans.’
      • ‘This portrait is no mere convention of a heroic genre.’
      • ‘This heroic, nationalist saga has been recapitulated in hundreds of books, articles, and school-texts ever since.’
      • ‘One feels that the specific nature of a ‘title’ is being confused with more general epithets common in heroic poetry.’
      • ‘Even so, a number of crosses and grave slabs from northern England do incorporate warrior imagery and scenes from Scandinavian heroic culture.’
      • ‘The French heroic epic is rigid, narrow and simplified, whereas medieval religious drama is redolent of the ‘everyday and the real’.’
      • ‘Written in heroic couplets, many are elegies or stress the theme of Christian salvation.’
      • ‘Indeed, the extent to which the campfire story meets the spirit of the heroic tale of mythology is nothing short of amazing.’
      • ‘Outside the formularised heroic literature, descriptions of battles, tactics and army compositions are rare.’
      • ‘The heroic Greece of the Homeric poems is already a Greece fragmented into independent city-states.’
      • ‘Yet this homage to the heroic model of Baudelairean modernity is, of course, a semiparodic one.’
      • ‘Readers are invited to continue to submit football haiku or heroic couplets.’
      • ‘The Taiping Rebellion had added another dimension to these folk memories, expressed in heroic tales of the imaginary exploits of its leader Hong Xiuquan.’
      • ‘It must have been during the Dark Age that heroic poetry developed and spread, even if (as seems probable) it originated in the Mycenaean age.’
  • 2(of language or a work of art) grand or grandiose in scale or intention.

    ‘one passes under pyramids and obelisks, all on a heroic scale’
    • ‘He designed an ambitious, even heroic, building, but did not live to see it more than barely begun.’
    • ‘With his Eroica symphony he inaugurated what is often known as his heroic style, producing a work of unprecedented scale and power.’
    • ‘They bring the highfalutin heroic language back down to earth and make it palatable.’
    • ‘Kit's lunchbox is decorated with WPA-style heroic locomotives.’
    • ‘The complete dominance of the composition by the figures, themselves projected on so heroic a scale, was a major influence on the course of High Renaissance art.’
    • ‘He uses brass - horns, in particular - recalling the grand heroic gestures of Romantic music.’
    • ‘But he stood no chance - she was having an affair with Dave, one of the forklift drivers, a wild chap built on the same heroic scale, with a wife and children at home.’
    • ‘But it was not the grand heroic altarpieces that gave the show its real soul.’
    • ‘Being aware of our own heritage makes us able to speak the same language that the Iraqis speak - the heroic language.’
    • ‘Two towers, he said, was a minimalist sculpture on a heroic scale.’
    • ‘Otherwise, his talent for timing, body language, and heroic drama are as solid as ever.’
    • ‘The middle classes preferred the German light or comic operas of Nicolai and Lortzing to the French or Italian heroic works.’
    • ‘It is a heroic piece and becomes the more so when one considers its scale in the context of the artist's physical difficulties.’
    • ‘The project stemmed from a critical look at the tradition of heroic, nationalistic exposition architecture.’
    • ‘The heroic scale of the Interpolis headquarters required a comparably bold landscape design.’
    • ‘The fictional reference of David's picture is thus epic and heroic in scale.’
    • ‘Yet this serf-conscious heroic aesthetic is relieved by grace in the decor of the palaces, in the glint of sunlight on the golden spires and domes, in the delicacy of the dancers at the ballet.’
    • ‘The massive and heroic piece was designed to be placed on top of the cathedral, but the city officials decided to place it in a more visible location.’
    • ‘These two ventures, Gura suggests, are the most heroic scholarly endeavors in American cultural history of the last generation.’
    • ‘The piece is heroic in its implications, and powerful in its visual component.’
    prodigious, grand, enormous, huge, massive, titanic, colossal, monumental, stupendous
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1Sculpture (of a statue) larger than life size but less than colossal.
      • ‘Although Canova made his name in the 1780s with heroic sculptures, it was the pathos and sentiment of his later pieces that so endeared him to a new generation of patrons.’
      • ‘His new work for the Commons at Metro Tech is based upon the traditional heroic monument.’
      • ‘Exterior view of lone figures scurrying across empty squares dominated by heroic statuary.’
      • ‘Preoccupied pedestrians amble past the heroic statue of San Martin on horseback without a glance.’
      • ‘The gaff, the muck-fork spear and the hayfork-turf candle form a tripod for the salmon to cradle in and are heroic in size and cast in bronze.’


  • 1Behaviour or talk that is bold or dramatic.

    ‘the England star is getting special treatment because of his World Cup heroics’
    • ‘Directors have shied away from making gory movies of this genre assuming that audiences find heroics in historical garb unexciting.’
    • ‘But it came down to last-second heroics and breathless moments provided by the rarest of talents.’
    • ‘Despite regional variations Biedermeier style is therefore staid, sober, and particular, eschewing heroics and drama.’
    • ‘The film lacks sentimentality or heroics, and that makes Pollock as strong as its subject matter.’
    • ‘This is more a symphony in which the piano takes a leading role, rather than an opportunity for individual heroics or display.’
    • ‘Other sets may highlight his humor heroics, but the majority of the material here is below average and borderline dull.’
    • ‘Perrin performed heroics to pluck it away from the top corner.’
    • ‘Woolfolk says poise and comeback heroics are nothing new for McNair.’
    • ‘Otua had been greatly surprised as she watched Queen Chelsea's heroics.’
    • ‘In ways, the music is very Bachian but there is also a touch of Haydnian heroics that makes the music very approachable.’
    • ‘Thus, we get both the boiling guitar heroics and songs that bristle to the point of bluntness.’
    • ‘He captures with equal panache the drag-queenish vanity of Amalfi and the witty heroics of Count Sirocco.’
    • ‘In the circumstances both matches reached a remarkably high standard with all four players performing heroics as they produced high class tennis.’
    • ‘The stories of heroics performed in war zones to get the story home to breakfast tables will only sound more resounding in the weeks ahead.’
    • ‘Suddenly, before I could perform any heroics, I was grabbed forcibly from behind.’
    • ‘But time for late heroics is growing short.’
    • ‘You won't be performing such indoor heroics this time around.’
    • ‘One again there was a bumper crowd at Cougar Park with an attendance of 252 people urging the team to continue their cup heroics.’
    • ‘It is an ‘ordinary’ girl, not a magic man, who performs the real heroics.’
    • ‘I could envision him performing the heroics described in the article.’
  • 2

    short for heroic verse


Late Middle English: from Old French heroique or Latin heroicus, from Greek hērōikos ‘relating to heroes’, from hērōs ‘hero’.