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 hectoring (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

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Other Words from hector


hectoringly \ ˈhek-​t(ə-​)riŋ-​lē How to pronounce hectoringly (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?


Hector wasn't always a bully. In Homer's Iliad, 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. How did the name of a Trojan paragon become a generic synonym of bully? That pejorative English 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 merely swaggering bullies who intimidated passersby and vandalized property. By 1660, hector was being used as a noun for the sort of blustering braggarts who populated those gangs, and as a verb as well.

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
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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, "Hong Kong Marchers Flood Streets Over Extradition Bill," 16 June 2019 Mr. Liggett sometimes used his art to hector neighbors in a score of grievances. Donald Frazier, Washington Post, "M.T. Liggett, who lined a highway with politically provocative art, dies at 86," 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, "More money, less freedomSouth-East Asia’s future looks prosperous but illiberal," 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, "The end of the Asian era," 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, "Hanson: In California, leaders don’t sweat the big stuff," 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, "The anti-impeachment crowd: Donald Trump's 20 greatest enablers (Commentary)," 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, "The Leftovers: A Nicer Story," 4 June 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb From the start, Greeley hectored, lectured, and criticized the president, while offering him unsolicited and wildly inconsistent advice. John Strausbaugh, National Review, "Horace Greeley’s Ill-Fated Crusades," 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, "Is the Federal Reserve about to cave to Trump’s demand to cut interest rates?," 18 June 2019 But life at a high-desert elevation has given them the endurance to compete, and once Mendoza’s hectoring sinks in, the book becomes a gripping, propulsive story about a playoff run. Mark Athitakis, Washington Post, "‘Canyon Dreams’ is more than a book about basketball," 22 Nov. 2019 Both women know that forceful men are all often described as strong and assertive, while forceful women are dismissed as angry, emasculating or hectoring. Charlotte Alter, Time, "Gender Politics at the Democratic Debate Show How Hard It Is To Fight Like a Girl," 21 Nov. 2019 As long as Sutter’s voice doesn’t have the strident, hectoring tone that turned Kings players against him late in his tenure, this could be fascinating. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Darryl Sutter provides ‘positive influence’ on Ducks’ coaching staff," 3 Oct. 2019 After more than a decade of hectoring from the security community, for example, medical device manufacturers have recently started making long overdue improvements to implantable devices like pacemakers and insulin pumps. Wired, "It's Time for IoT Security's Next Big Step," 11 Sep. 2019 At this point, the most pressing question for the Sanders camp is not whether students in the first nominating state will caucus for a dishevelled, hectoring septuagenarian over his younger opponents but whether enough students will caucus at all. Eren Orbey, The New Yorker, "Bernie Sanders’s Enduring Appeal to the Youth Vote in Iowa," 11 Sep. 2019 According to reporting from Politico, Stephen Miller, one of President Trump’s most loyal and truculent policy advisors, has been the driving, hectoring force within the White House for this regulatory shift. Jackie Botts, The Mercury News, "What does Trump’s latest immigration crackdown mean for California?," 15 Aug. 2019

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.

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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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Time Traveler for hector

Time Traveler

The first known use of hector was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Hector.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hector. Accessed 12 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for hector



English Language Learners Definition of hector

: to criticize or question (someone) in a threatening way

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