he·​ro·​ic | \ hi-ˈrō-ik also her-ˈō- or hē-ˈrō- How to pronounce heroic (audio) \
variants: or less commonly heroical \ hi-​ˈrō-​i-​kəl How to pronounce heroical (audio) \

Definition of heroic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of or relating to courageous people or the mythological or legendary figures of antiquity : of, relating to, resembling, or suggesting heroes especially of antiquity heroic legends the heroic age
2a : exhibiting or marked by courage and daring It was a heroic decision.
b : supremely noble or self-sacrificing a heroic gesture received medals for their heroic actions
3a : of impressive size, power, extent, or effect a heroic voice
b(1) : of great intensity : extreme heroic effort
(2) : of a kind that is likely only to be undertaken to save a life heroic surgery
4 : of, relating to, or constituting drama written during the Restoration in heroic couplets and concerned with a conflict between love and honor



Definition of heroic (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a verse or poem written during the Restoration using rhyming couplets in iambic pentameter and concerned with a conflict between love and honor : a heroic verse or poem
2 heroics plural
a : flamboyantly boastful language or action avoids heroics in his writing
b : courageous, noble, or self-sacrificing action or behavior : heroic action or behavior the heroics of the civil rights movement
c : determined effort especially in the face of difficulty

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Other Words from heroic


heroically \ hi-​ˈrō-​i-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce heroically (audio) \ adverb

Examples of heroic in a Sentence

Adjective It was heroic of those women to fight for the right to vote. The soldiers received medals for their heroic actions. Despite heroic efforts to save the business, it ultimately went bankrupt. a political battle of heroic proportions
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Living in sylvan solitude, Vesta is like the heroic daughter of one of Jack London’s rugged individuals. Rumaan Alam, The New Republic, "Ottessa Moshfegh’s Pursuit of Disgust," 23 June 2020 In Italy, once the pandemic’s European epicenter, Pope Francis told medics that their heroic efforts during the outbreak would help the country forge a future of hope and solidarity. Ken Moritsugu, BostonGlobe.com, "Pandemic becomes a patchwork of small successes and setbacks," 20 June 2020 Montgomery artist and business owner Michelle Browder did not want Juneteenth to pass without celebration in her hometown, steeped in both tragic history and heroic advances for civil rights. Mike Cason | Mcason@al.com, al, "Montgomery slave market site bears ‘Black Lives Matter’ mural," 19 June 2020 The heroic dash did not save his job, and Hardin returned to tending bar and working in hotels. oregonlive, "Portland’s first black police officer didn’t last long, but he refused to give up; 20 years later he became heralded sheriff’s deputy," 18 June 2020 As with other chronic illnesses, PTSD can go into remission—and as the study of PTSD matures, researchers have come to appreciate the brain’s heroic attempts to heal itself after traumatic events. Erin Blakemore, National Geographic, "How PTSD went from ‘shell-shock’ to a recognized medical diagnosis," 16 June 2020 The series is often remembered nationally for Bryant shooting blanks — that is, other than his heroic shot to force overtime in Game 2, L.A.'s lone win in the series. Marlowe Alter, Detroit Free Press, "R-E-S-P-E-C-T! Detroit Pistons complete '5-game sweep' of Shaq-Kobe Lakers, 16 years ago," 15 June 2020 Most maddening of all, the Fowl family enterprise has been reimagined as a secretly heroic endeavor. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Review: Artemis Fowl is a crushing disappointment," 13 June 2020 That means renaming these 10 bases, rechristening them with the names of 10 of the many, many heroic troops of diversity in our history who defended this nation so courageously even as our nation treated them so poorly. Senator Tammy Duckworth, Time, "Senator Tammy Duckworth: Our Black Servicemembers Deserve Better Than Military Bases Named After Confederate Officers," 12 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Watson, meanwhile, threw for 388 yards and two touchdowns while running for another, but not even his heroics could bail out the Texans (11-7) after they were outscored, 28-0, in the second quarter. Dave Skretta, BostonGlobe.com, "Chiefs overcome 24-point deficit to blow out Texans," 12 Jan. 2020 For all their athletic exploits to date, none compare with their off-field heroics. John Shea, SFChronicle.com, "Giants prospect Hunter Bishop squares off against his brother, Braden," 28 Feb. 2020 Watson, meanwhile, threw for 388 yards and two touchdowns while running for another, but not even his heroics could bail out the Texans (11-7) after they were outscored 28-0 in the second quarter. oregonlive, "NFL Playoffs 2020: Kansas City overcomes 24-point deficit and rolls past the Houston Texans in a Divisional Round playoff," 12 Jan. 2020 Jewell did not know it then, but the government already had its doubts about his heroics. Adam Carlson, PEOPLE.com, "'88 Days of Hell': The True Story of the Atlanta Olympic Bombing and the Wrongfully Suspected Hero at the Center," 1 Jan. 2020 And, on Sunday, his heroics once again buoyed the Broncos after Oakland cut its deficit to one point late in the fourth quarter with Renfrow’s short touchdown catch. Kyle Fredrickson, The Denver Post, "Shelby Harris seals Broncos victory with batted pass on Raiders’ 2-point conversion: “Everyone wants to be in that moment”," 29 Dec. 2019 The necessary heroics on that side of the ball just don’t come with the level of frequency that championship contenders produce. Mike Jones, USA TODAY, "Houston Texans' contender potential is evident, but serious concerns remain," 15 Dec. 2019 His heroics wouldn’t have been possible without quarterback Tanner Morgan finding Chris Autman-Bell in the corner of the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown on fourth and 13 with 46 seconds left to force OT. Andy Greder, Twin Cities, "A look at the best moments of Gophers football’s historic season," 6 Dec. 2019 In a cruel irony, Owens returned to the United States to find the opportunities that might be expected to accompany his Olympic heroics were not available to him because of his race. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, "Alabama 200: See top 10 sports moments in Alabama history," 27 Nov. 2019

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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1573, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for heroic

Time Traveler

The first known use of heroic was in the 15th century

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Statistics for heroic

Last Updated

26 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Heroic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heroic. Accessed 8 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for heroic


How to pronounce heroic (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of heroic

: of or relating to heroes
: having or showing great courage
: very large or great in size, amount, etc.


he·​ro·​ic | \ hi-ˈrō-ik How to pronounce heroic (audio) \

Kids Definition of heroic

1 : of or relating to heroism or heroes heroic tales
2 : courageous, daring a heroic rescue

Other Words from heroic

heroically \ -​i-​kə-​lē \ adverb


he·​ro·​ic | \ hi-ˈrō-ik also her-ˈō- or hē-ˈrō- \

Medical Definition of heroic

1 : of a kind that is likely to be undertaken only to save life heroic surgery heroic treatment
2 : having a pronounced effect used chiefly of medicaments or dosage heroic doses a heroic drug

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More from Merriam-Webster on heroic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for heroic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with heroic

Spanish Central: Translation of heroic

Nglish: Translation of heroic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of heroic for Arabic Speakers

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