The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Hero \He"ro\ (h[=e]"r[-o]), n.; pl. Heroes (h[=e]"r[=o]z). [F.
h['e]ros, L. heros, Gr. "h`rws.]
1. (Myth.) 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
Each man is a hero and oracle to somebody.
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.
[1913 Webster] 1
Hero worship exists, has existed, and will forever
exist, universally among mankind. --Carlyle.