hec·​tor | \ ˈhek-tər How to pronounce hector (audio) \

Definition of hector

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 capitalized : a son of Priam, husband of Andromache, and Trojan champion slain by Achilles


hectored; hectoring\ ˈhek-​t(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce hector (audio) \

Definition of hector (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to behave in an arrogant or intimidating way : to play the bully : swagger

transitive verb

: to intimidate or harass by bluster or personal pressure football players being hectored by their coach

Other Words from hector


hectoringly \ ˈhek-​t(ə-​)riŋ-​lē How to pronounce hector (audio) \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for hector


bait, badger, heckle, hector, chivy, hound mean to harass by efforts to break down. bait implies wanton cruelty or delight in persecuting a helpless victim. baited the chained dog badger implies pestering so as to drive a person to confusion or frenzy. badgered her father for a car heckle implies persistent annoying or belligerent interruptions of a speaker. drunks heckled the stand-up comic hector carries an implication of bullying and domineering. football players hectored by their coach chivy suggests persecution by teasing or nagging. chivied the new student mercilessly hound implies unrelenting pursuit and harassing. hounded by creditors

Did you know?

In Homer's Iliad, Hector, the eldest son of King Priam of Troy, was a model soldier, son, father, and friend, the champion of the Trojan army until he was killed by the Greek hero Achilles. So how did his name become a verb meaning "to intimidate or harrass"? That use was likely influenced by gangs of rowdy street toughs who roamed London in the 17th century and called themselves "Hectors." They may have thought themselves gallant young blades, but to the general populace they were swaggering bullies who intimidated passersby and vandalized property.

Examples of hector in a Sentence

Noun a small-town hector with no job and lots of time on his hands Verb The judge ordered the attorney to stop hectoring the witness. the children used to constantly hector the poor dog, and now he growls at everybody
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Photo: hector retamal/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images Seven hours into the march, Mrs. Lam apologized to the Hong Kong people for mishandling the bill. Wenxin Fan, WSJ, 16 June 2019 Mr. Liggett sometimes used his art to hector neighbors in a score of grievances. Donald Frazier, Washington Post, 26 Aug. 2017 THE young woman with the microphone cajoles, hectors and wheedles customers with the breathless enthusiasm of a livestock auctioneer at a county fair. The Economist, 18 July 2017 Trump’s proposals to match China’s import fees and to hector companies into keeping jobs in the United States represent a huge threat to the mercantilist Asian economic model. Joel Kotkin, Orange County Register, 2 Apr. 2017 Schwarzenegger liked to hector state residents on global warming and green energy, and brag about his commitment to wind and solar power. Victor Davis Hanson, The Mercury News, 9 Mar. 2017 Like Chaffetz, the South Carolina congressman used his position in the House to investigate and hector Hillary Clinton throughout her time as a presidential candidate. OregonLive.com, 30 June 2017 Regardless, that scene between Matt and Nora was one of the most moving the show has offered, with Nora grateful for Matt’s company and lack of judgment, and Matt determined to just be there for her, and not hector or sermonize. Spencer Kornhaber And Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, 4 June 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But the plays don’t hector or propound moral lessons. Los Angeles Times, 6 June 2022 Understanding this, the Left is trying to hector, bully, and censor its way toward establishing a ridiculous new conception of gender as a matter of personal choosing rather than biological fact. The Editors, National Review, 16 Oct. 2021 The President didn't hector or condemn vaccine skeptics, but instead played on their heart strings, appealing to their desire to protect family, friends and country, warning that those who skipped the shot remained at great risk. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 7 July 2021 The open display of raw tensions was remarkable even by the standards of a state Legislature where committee chairs routinely hector members of the public and their colleagues. Andrew Oxford, The Arizona Republic, 24 Mar. 2021 Even among ordinary people, an individual’s desire to participate in day-to-day activities such as church services and dining out is enough cause to hector him for contracting the coronavirus. Ellen Carmichael, National Review, 30 Dec. 2020 On Twitter, meteorologists who dared to hector their followers about the storm’s proper nomenclature received an earful from Iowans furious about the relative lack of national attention the storm had garnered. Brianna Provenzano, refinery29.com, 17 Aug. 2020 From the start, Greeley hectored, lectured, and criticized the president, while offering him unsolicited and wildly inconsistent advice. John Strausbaugh, National Review, 19 Dec. 2019 President Trump has been hectoring the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates, and financial markets are screaming for a cut. Don Lee, latimes.com, 18 June 2019 See More

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

First Known Use of hector


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1660, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for hector

Noun and Verb

Latin, from Greek Hektōr

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Cite this Entry

“Hector.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hector. Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on hector

Nglish: Translation of hector for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hector for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hector


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