Her·​cu·​le·​an | \ ˌhər-kyə-ˈlē-ən How to pronounce Herculean (audio) , ˌhər-ˈkyü-lē- How to pronounce Herculean (audio) \

Definition of Herculean

1 : of, relating to, or characteristic of Hercules
2 often not capitalized : of extraordinary power, extent, intensity, or difficulty Herculean tasks Herculean proportions

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

The hero Hercules, son of the god Zeus by a human mother, was famous for his superhuman strength. To pacify the wrath of the god Apollo, he was forced to perform twelve enormously difficult tasks, or "labors". These ranged from descending into the underworld to bring back the terrifying dog that guarded its entrance to destroying the many-headed monster called the Hydra. Any job or task that's extremely difficult or calls for enormous strength is therefore called herculean.

First Known Use of Herculean

1513, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about Herculean

Time Traveler for Herculean

Time Traveler

The first known use of Herculean was in 1513

See more words from the same year

Statistics for Herculean

Cite this Entry

“Herculean.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Herculean. Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on Herculean

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for Herculean

Nglish: Translation of Herculean for Spanish Speakers

Comments on Herculean

What made you want to look up Herculean? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!