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


a small-town hector with no job and lots of time on his hands


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

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 Only a civilization addicted to frivolity and hectored by self-hating intellectuals — that is, ours — could have let the giant step go unfollowed so long or think so fleetingly of it now. Nr Editors, National Review, "The Week," 25 July 2019 One character even gets to rise from the dead long enough to both forgive and hector her frenemies, rivals and even her remorseful parents. Hank Stuever, Washington Post, "‘Pose’ returns, upgrading its ‘realness’ without sacrificing its glimmer or grit," 11 June 2019 McCartney grew frustrated with perpetually having to hector his bandmates to record new tunes. David Gambacorta, Longreads, "Took You By Surprise: John and Paul’s Lost Reunion," 25 June 2019 Those who resist this system are committed to an asylum, or, worse, hectored by their parents to get a real job. Alex Baia Thatcher Jensen, The New Yorker, "Conspiracy Theories for the Ultra-Rational," 7 June 2019 Critics have labeled Trump an inconsistent force, prone to publicly hectoring friendly partners, embracing foes and resistant to much advice or counsel. Washington Post, "Trump rarely conducts business as usual with foreign leaders," 7 June 2018 In another turnabout, the central government has stopped hectoring city halls to restrain spending and instead has urged them to speed up investment projects. Lingling Wei, WSJ, "China Moves Cautiously in Face of Economic Slowdown," 20 Jan. 2019 In a turnabout, the State Council, China’s cabinet, stopped hectoring city halls and townships to restrain spending and instead last week launched an inspection to urge them to speed up already approved investment projects to re-energize growth. Tory Newmyer, Washington Post, "The Finance 202: Mnuchin is in denial about the pain Trump's tariffs are inducing," 13 July 2018

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

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

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English Language Learners Definition of hector

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

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Comments on hector

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


concealment of treason or felony

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