he·​ro | \ ˈhir-(ˌ)ō How to pronounce hero (audio) \
plural heroes

Definition of hero

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability
b : an illustrious warrior
c : a person admired for achievements and noble qualities
d : one who shows great courage
2a : the principal character in a literary or dramatic work used specifically of a principal male character especially when contrasted with heroineA special feature was the cliff-hanger ending when hero, heroine, or both found themselves confronting a violent demise …— Ira Konigsberg now also used of a principal character who is female… action movies with female heroes are emerging more frequently, and with increasing quality.— William Bibbiani
b : the central figure in an event, period, or movement
3 plural usually heros : submarine sense 2
4 : an object of extreme admiration and devotion : idol

Definition of Hero (Entry 2 of 3)

: a legendary priestess of Aphrodite loved by Leander

Hero

biographical name
He·​ro | \ ˈhē-(ˌ)rō How to pronounce Hero (audio) , ˈhir-(ˌ)ō \
variants: or Heron \ ˈhē-​ˌrän How to pronounce Heron (audio) \

Definition of Hero (Entry 3 of 3)

1st century a.d. Greek scientist

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for hero

Synonyms: Noun (1)

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of hero in a Sentence

Noun (1) A motto of his hero, Thomas Edison, is inscribed on a favorite sweatshirt : "To invent you need a good imagination and a pile of junk." — Britt Robson, Mother Jones, May/June 2008 Greater authors—Arthur Conan Doyle most notably—have been in the same dilemma when seeking closure. And, like Conan Doyle, Rowling has won imperishable renown for giving us an identifiable hero and a fine caricature of a villain, and for making a fictional bit of King's Cross station as luminous as a certain address on nearby Baker Street. — Christopher Hitchens, New York Times Book Review, 12 Aug. 2007 Here's a novel by a decorated war hero with a fictional Middle Eastern desert war at its core. It pits an American-led coalition against a potentially lethal enemy … — Lorenzo Carcaterra, People, 3 June 1991 Other physicists, long wedded to the notion that nothing can escape from a black hole, have generally come to accept that discovery. And the stuff emitted from little black holes (and big ones too, but far more slowly) is now called Hawking radiation. "In general relativity and early cosmology, Hawking is the hero," says Rocky Kolb, a physicist at Fermilab in Illinois. — Leon Jaroff, Time, 8 Feb. 1988 He returned from the war a national hero. the hero of a rescue She was a hero for standing up to the government. His father has always been his hero. He has always been a hero to his son.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In a trailer for Wonder Woman 1984, our hero is under attack from some goons with guns. Rhett Allain, Wired, "How Much Superpower Does It Take to Bash a Bullet in Midair?," 17 Jan. 2020 Unfortunately, when he is called to Baghdad to broker peace in post-war Iraq, our hero's new journey takes a dangerous detour into the direct line of fire. Ineye Komonibo, refinery29.com, "The Stars Of Knives Out & Narcos Are Ill-Fated Lovers In New Netflix Political Thriller," 15 Jan. 2020 DC’s Legends of Tomorrow star Caity Lotz doesn’t fully believe this is the end of the line for our fallen Arrowverse hero. Chancellor Agard, EW.com, "Caity Lotz on saying goodbye to [SPOILER] in 'Crisis on Infinite Earths'," 15 Jan. 2020 For our heroes and military spouses — polish your resumes. Maria Polletta, azcentral, "Full text: Arizona Gov. Ducey's 2020 State of the State speech," 13 Jan. 2020 From my heroes Andre the Giant to Muhammed Ali to Ronald Reagan ... Gary Levin, USA TODAY, "Dwayne Johnson says his autobiographical NBC sitcom 'Young Rock' will be like 'Forrest Gump'," 11 Jan. 2020 The crowd at Assembly Hall came to its feet, in love with its unlikely hero. Jon Blau, Indianapolis Star, "IU erases memory of Northwestern game; knocks off No. 11 Ohio State at home," 11 Jan. 2020 Do the Saints bring back Brees, their franchise hero, for another run, and risk losing either or both of the two youngsters? Ben Volin, BostonGlobe.com, "Tying up the loose ends of Patriots’ season," 11 Jan. 2020 No cleric’s death could pull crowds like those that gathered to salute their war hero—crowds which did not care that the clerics disapproved of the honour guard carrying weapons and the speech by a woman (the general’s daughter). The Economist, "After the assassination How Iran can respond to the killing of Qassem Suleimani," 9 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hero.' 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 hero

Noun (1)

circa 1522, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hero

Noun (1)

Latin heros, from Greek hērōs

Noun (2)

Latin, from Greek Hērō

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about hero

Time Traveler for hero

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for hero

Last Updated

20 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hero.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hero. Accessed 26 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for hero

hero

noun
How to pronounce Hero (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of hero

: a person who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities
: a person who is greatly admired
: the chief male character in a story, play, movie, etc.

hero

noun
he·​ro | \ ˈhir-ō How to pronounce hero (audio) , ˈhē-rō \
plural heroes

Kids Definition of hero

1 : a person admired for great deeds or fine qualities We study heroes of our nation's history.
2 : a person who shows great courage The firefighters were heroes.
3 : the chief male character in a story, play, or poem

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on hero

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hero

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hero

Spanish Central: Translation of hero

Nglish: Translation of hero for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hero for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hero

Comments on hero

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to express in a more acceptable way

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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