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Origin: F. Heros, L. Heros, Gr.

1. An illustrious man, supposed to be exalted, after death, to a place among the gods; a demigod, as Hercules.

2. A man of distinguished valor or enterprise in danger, or fortitude in suffering; a prominent or central personage in any remarkable action or event; hence, a great or illustrious person. "Each man is a hero and oracle to somebody." (Emerson)

3. The principal personage in a poem, story, and the like, or the person who has the principal share in the transactions related; as Achilles in the Iliad, Ulysses in the Odyssey, and aeneas in the aeneid. "The shining quality of an epic hero." (Dryden) Hero worship, extravagant admiration for great men, likened to the ancient worship of heroes. "Hero worship exists, has existed, and will forever exist, universally among mankind." (Carlyle)

(01 Mar 1998)

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