an·​ti·​he·​ro | \ ˈan-tē-ˌhē-(ˌ)rō, ˈan-ˌtī- How to pronounce antihero (audio) , -ˌhir-(ˌ)ō \
plural antiheroes

Definition of antihero

: a protagonist or notable figure who is conspicuously lacking in heroic qualities

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from antihero

antiheroic \ ˌan-​tē-​hi-​ˈrō-​ik , ˌan-​ˌtī-​ How to pronounce antihero (audio) \ adjective

Examples of antihero in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Marla Grayson is everything the Gone Girl antihero always wanted to be: successful, rich, and independent. Emily Tannenbaum, Glamour, "I Care a Lot," 19 Feb. 2021 The rise-of-the-antihero genre is an old trope, going back to special editions of comic books that would explain Lex Luthor’s bloodlust or the childhood neglect at the heart of the Joker’s nihilism. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, "“Ratched,” Reviewed: A Confused, Caricaturish Origin Story for the “Cuckoo’s Nest” Villainess," 19 Sep. 2020 Relying exclusively on the power of cries can propel a rascally antihero to glory. Fortune, "Trump focused too much on fraud—and it might have cost him the election," 23 Dec. 2020 Thatcher is less palatable as a hero, or an antihero, than as a needling antagonist, as in her heavenly toe-to-toe scenes with Olivia Colman’s Queen Elizabeth. Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, "Ten Great Performances of 2020," 4 Dec. 2020 At times this Henry Adams resembles a persona, a little like the feckless antihero whom T. S. Eliot called J. Alfred Prufrock. Dan Chiasson, The New Yorker, "What Henry Adams Understood About History’s Breaking Points," 30 Nov. 2020 This pitch-black tale of elder-care abuse and fraud finds Rosamund Pike in peak icy form as the ambitious antihero of J. Blakeson’s thriller. David Canfield,, "13 standouts from this year's Toronto International Film Festival," 9 Sep. 2020 As Joe Exotic, Cheban transformed into the series’s titular antihero with a mullet wig and fake mustache. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Meet the Designers Behind Your Favorite Celebrity Costumes," 3 Nov. 2020 Gelb’s show, in 2016, is what turned Anand from relative obscurity — an Indian chef in the middle of Thailand — into an emblem of defiance and a food-world antihero. Sheila Marikar, New York Times, "The Fed-Up Chef," 21 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'antihero.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of antihero

1714, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about antihero

Time Traveler for antihero Time Traveler

The first known use of antihero was in 1714

See more words from the same year

Statistics for antihero

Last Updated

27 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Antihero.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for antihero



English Language Learners Definition of antihero

: a main character in a book, play, movie, etc., who does not have the usual good qualities that are expected in a hero

More from Merriam-Webster on antihero Encyclopedia article about antihero

Comments on antihero

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Who Knew?

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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