Main definitions of hero in US English:

: hero1Hero2Hero3

hero1

noun

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

    ‘a war hero’
    • ‘Facing the challenges of working in microgravity calls for fearless heroes and feats of courage.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Generals and people who are war heroes rarely get his as hard as anyone else.’
    • ‘Suddenly, the cowboy was elevated to the status of a national folk hero.’
    • ‘Last year additions were made to the inscription on the Cenotaph honouring the fallen heroes of Johannesburg.’
    • ‘Andrei Sakharov observed that we always prefer dead heroes to living men and women who may have made mistakes.’
    • ‘Do the right thing: honor our fallen heroes and support our troops in the field.’
    • ‘They may be dead and that is sad, and I feel for their families, but they are not martyrs or war heroes.’
    • ‘As a nation, we ought to be thankful for the courage of unsung heroes who have sacrificed much to protect society.’
    • ‘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 search for eight unsung Milnrow heroes of the Great War is proving frustrating for local historian Ralph Davidson.’
    • ‘She never dreamed that she would be a decorated war 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.’
    • ‘However, once in a while, one of those no-hopers turns it around and becomes an unlikely cult hero.’
    • ‘The first dismissal arrived just two minutes later when Hale turned from hero to villain.’
    • ‘He enjoys books about boxing heroes, Irish and English history, philosophy and political history.’
    • ‘Mantle had become a folk hero by then and Maris naturally became the villain.’
    • ‘The search is on to find an unsung sporting hero in Dulwich.’
    • ‘My boyhood heroes in baseball were Ernie Banks, Billy Williams and Willie Mays.’
    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 movie, who is typically identified with good qualities, and with whom the reader is expected to sympathize.
      • ‘Ford is all the more impressive because he mainly played standard heroes.’
      • ‘She's as strong and likable a female character as Davy is a male hero, making this a perfect bookend to book one.’
      • ‘To undo the damage, our heroes head to Tibet for the mysterious healing skills of the sequestered monks.’
      • ‘Almost all of Dostoevsky's heroes are extremely introspective and verbal creatures.’
      • ‘Jimmy Shergil is fed up playing second fiddle to heroes in films.’
      • ‘In several films the hero is a comical character, but the portrayal is gentle.’
      • ‘The eponymous hero is played by the blue-eyed Peter O'Toole.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The last three US box-office-topping films all feature macho heroes.’
      • ‘Suicidal sheep and comic book heroes inhabit this beguiling collection of far-fetched fables.’
      • ‘Hindi film heroes were still learning to find their way around trees on one leg with women extending support only silently.’
      • ‘Sari was bemoaning the plight of the hero on screen.’
      • ‘All of the book's heroes inspire readers to take action in our own neighborhoods and situations.’
      • ‘Mind you, the hero of this novel certainly got luckier than I ever did!’
      • ‘The least likely but most fascinating Republican candidate would be action hero turned politician Arnold Schwarzenegger.’
      • ‘For this critic, there were only three comic book heroes who he could truly identify with.’
      • ‘It is an expected addition to the bulging league of comic book heroes that have made the transition to celluloid.’
      • ‘The hero of the first novel, Benjamin Trotter, longs for his first love.’
      • ‘The heroes on the big screen belong only to the American culture and not to any other either.’
      male protagonist, principal male character
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 (in mythology and folklore) a person of superhuman qualities and often semidivine origin, in particular one whose exploits were the subject of ancient Greek myths.
      • ‘Like Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida, this emblem mocks Greek heroes while celebrating them as ideal exempla.’
      • ‘Among the Asháninka, history and nature are explained through myths and heroes.’
      • ‘The case may be illuminated by taking up the familiar parallel between the Greek heroes and the saints of early Christendom.’
      • ‘The myth of the solar hero can be found within many of the ancient civilisations even before the Christian era.’
      • ‘Unlike in the West, our viewers like to see their own heroes, stories, mythologies and melodrama.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He helped heroes defeat sea monsters, if I recall correctly.’
      • ‘The heroes and myths of the hill tribes of Cambodia are religious and familial in nature.’
      • ‘There were many stories of ancient heroes such as the tale of ‘Beowulf’ or the Norse Sagas.’
      • ‘There are ancient myths of creation and heroes that resemble those in Chinese mythology.’
      • ‘The myth of the hero has followed the same basic pattern in many cultures, and expresses a common ideal.’
      • ‘The oracle was consulted by Achilles, Heracles and other mythological heroes.’
      • ‘Numerous Greek heroes and heroines commit manslaughter in myth.’
      • ‘The second concerns the Nibelung myth, which relates the story of the Germanic hero Siegfried.’
      • ‘In ancient times, heroes traveled to the underworld before they dreamt of seeing heaven.’
      • ‘The second story transports us into the high-pitched world of the famous Greek heroes Ajax and Achilles.’
      • ‘The birth myths of supernatural heroes have been a subject of considerable interest to psychoanalysts.’
      • ‘For Icarus is one of those Greek heroes who has got a bad press over the past 2,500 years.’
  • 2North American

    another term for submarine (sense 2 of the noun)
    • ‘He grabbed a hero sandwich and munched on it to hide away his embarrassment.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It's all the fun of your favorite meat and cheese hero sandwich elegantly mushed up and served in a bread bowl.’
    • ‘Russell recalled being mesmerized by a picture of a hero sandwich that Chicca, an excellent artist, had drawn for him.’
    • ‘‘I'm having what's left of my hero sandwich,’ he responded as he sat down with his midnight snack.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Ask about this, as commercial mozzarella adds a rubbery texture and no flavor to a hero.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A little larger than a hero sandwich, it carries a box of flies, a tippet spool, and a pair of pliers.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

hero

/ˈhɪroʊ//ˈhirō/

Main definitions of hero in US English:

: hero1Hero2Hero3

Hero2

proper noun

  • (1st century), Greek mathematician and inventor; known as Hero of Alexandria. He described a number of hydraulic, pneumatic, and other mechanical devices, including elementary applications of the power of steam.

Pronunciation

Hero

/ˈhēˌrō/

Main definitions of hero in US English:

: hero1Hero2Hero3

Hero3

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

/ˈhɪroʊ//ˈhirō/