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Wrong etymology[edit]

Hi guys. I'm a registered Wikipedia user but I don't have a login on here. If I use it extensively I will get one. I just wanted to say that this etymology is fanciful and needs correction, so I am going to correct it. There is no citation on the Plato etymology. The derivation is well-known and has been for some time. You can look it up in any major dictionary and they all say the same thing. It means "defender" and is cognate with Hera, the feminine form. 11:28, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

More. I found I needed to get a login. Things don't seem to work the same way as on Wikipedia. There are a lot of protections on this article but it still needs work. Anyway the citation request is on the location in Plato. Also I can't seem to put any notes section in and I do not get the editing characters when I edit. Ah well. Someone else will have to make sure this is done according to format. I'm not on here very often and I would have put it under the Wikipedia article on hero but it refers the reader to here.Botteville 12:07, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

Regarding definition[edit]

I removed the definition: "An unwilling sufferer of an act of terrorism, terminal disease, or other tragedy." I was unable to locate a similar definition in any dictionary and it seems to me that, particularly 'the terrorist victim', is a new invention following the attacks on the World Trade Center and is more of an euphemism considering the original meaning of hero.

On a similar note, I would suggest that Spiderman is not a hero because of his powers, but because of how he uses them. I don't feel confident about changing it though, especially considering the similar word superhero.

A defnition does not have to appear in another dictionary to be valid. It has to appear in use in the language. Please read WT:CFI, especially regarding attestation. --EncycloPetey 22:22, 15 October 2009 (UTC)

5. "An unwilling sufferer of an act of terrorism, terminal disease, or other tragedy." This has got to be sarcastic, right? This sounds like commentary on the tendency to proclaim that someone is a hero when they are merely a victim of some kind.


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"Someone who possesses supernatural powers (in fiction) such as Superman." Needs to be verified in a manner that distinguishes it from the other sense "A real or mythical person of great bravery who carries out extraordinary deeds" (but possibly without superpowers). Also this definition appears to cover anyone with supernatural powers, like Stephen King's Carrie, who is not exactly a superhero. Equinox 16:11, 18 June 2011 (UTC)

RFV failed; sense removed.​—msh210 (talk) 17:34, 19 July 2011 (UTC)


RFV 2[edit]

So it appears that someone placed a RFV on definition 5, and in response, someone else cited a few examples from media to verify its usage. This was months ago, with no further complaints. Where do we go from here? It looks bad to leave the tag there forever, so unless someone has reason to contest it, I nominate removing the RFV tag and letting definition 5 be.

The tag gets removed when WT:RFV#hero is resolved, not the other way round. Anyway, last I looked it looked like a fail not a pass. Mglovesfun (talk) 14:06, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
Now see below. - -sche (discuss) 23:51, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
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Rfv-sense: "An unwilling sufferer of an act of terrorism, terminal disease, or other tragedy." Was disputed at WT:FEED#hero where the consensus was nobody has heard of it. I think it may be confusion with the sense of 'someone who does something brave', where the brave act is in the passive, involuntary sense (i.e. dying). Mglovesfun (talk) 08:50, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

A number of quotes have been added, but I would argue that the first three quotes imply that the victim in question is doing something brave (even just persisting) that would fit the first four senses now shown at hero. The last quote seems to suggest some sort of conflation between how the writer is using the word "hero" and some other sense; the list given doesn't have much cohesion: a first responder or victim of 9/11, active, fallen, or retired military, special friend or family member - does "hero" really mean "special friend"? How wide are we willing to be in our attempt at applying a meaning? -- Eiríkr Útlendi | Tala við mig 20:42, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
In that last one I believe the reference of "special friend" is to what was for a time called "significant other".
There is also a quote from a review of a recent book by Susan Sontag's son, "And if you are called a hero for beating cancer, what are you called when cancer wins?"
I think the exact nature of the debasement of meaning is that the "heroic" struggles can be mere struggles to survive in a battle not of one's choosing, in no way ennobled by sacrifice for others. DCDuring TALK 22:09, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
If "hero" means "unwilling victim of a tragedy" in those quotations, you should be able to substitute one for the other and still have the same meaning. I don't think you can. Fugyoo 23:33, 13 September 2011 (UTC)
Failed, I don't think any of the citations backed this meaning up. Mglovesfun (talk) 14:12, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

RFV 3[edit]

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When a main character is described as a hero without being heroic, or a protagonist without promoting anything, that's sarcasm without the moisture isn't it? RTG (talk) 02:28, 4 November 2012 (UTC)

So, which senses are you disputing? Mglovesfun (talk) 11:19, 4 November 2012 (UTC)
The most common use of "protagonist" in my experience is the "main character" meaning, not the "promoter" one.--Prosfilaes (talk) 12:28, 4 November 2012 (UTC)
@RTG, sorry to be a bit of an arse, but this is a massive page, so any off-topic material, I'm very keen to remove it. Nothing personal. Mglovesfun (talk) 12:30, 4 November 2012 (UTC)

The ones where it implies, the words hero or protagonist define a main character, specifically without any other prerequisite quality than being characterised at all. I suggest such sense is contextual, expectant of a situation rather than descriptive of a subject and therefore requisite of explanation as such, in definition as such. Can you verify that a main character is always a hero simply by being main, as opposed to being merely described as one, in the implication that fiction best provides a hero for a main characters adventures? It's a bit tongue twistery to explain but it's not very complicated or long. If a fictional work about Satan sacrificing babies describes him as the hero of the story without any heroic aspect to his adventure, are we left requiring context for defintion? I say, yes of course. RTG (talk) 15:45, 4 November 2012 (UTC)

I'm not insisting you do anything Mglovesfun, but the senses are unverified and that is interesting as the context is totally overlooked which makes them kind of undefining too. RTG (talk) 15:50, 4 November 2012 (UTC)
Could you tag the disputed sense with {{rfv-sense}}, then we can all know what they are, instead of just you? Mglovesfun (talk) 15:52, 4 November 2012 (UTC)
Done and I would suggest scrolling up a little to the RFV for James Bond as that is pretty much something like this, more of an ironic use. Please verify that these senses are not ironic. RTG (talk) 15:58, 4 November 2012 (UTC)
Though the use is so common I would suggest describing as ironic rather than deleting? RTG (talk) 16:08, 4 November 2012 (UTC)
This looks more like a topic for WT:TR than for rfv. Here you're asking people to look for examples of usage to verify that the term (or at least a particular sense of it) is in use- mostly to determine whether it meets WT:CFI. If the term or sense fails verification, it gets deleted. The Tea Room is for more general discussions about a term. Chuck Entz (talk) 17:06, 4 November 2012 (UTC)
I find it weird that when searching here, Google Books comes up with hits for "hero" when searching for "protagonist". Searching for google books:protagonist of Paradise Lost finds that Kaplan's guides say "Satan is the protagonist in Paradise Lost. Although there may be evil elements in the other works, Satan himself does not actually appear." and "protagonist: This is the main character of the story." google books:"evil protagonists" finds "Wood's strong evil protagonists are punished, of course - but only after the readers have been afforded a chance to identify briefly with female force and power." and "Amusing vampire flick featuring real-life twins Madeleine and Mary Collinson as the good and evil protagonists." Hero is more complicated, but I don't see any question about protagonist.--Prosfilaes (talk) 00:08, 5 November 2012 (UTC)
Satan could be described as a major protagonist without any loss of the meaning of the word because of course the stereotypical Satan promotes something, but when I change that search to "hero of paradise lost" in brackets, the first hit I get says, "Satan is wrongly called the hero of Paradise Lost. He is really the villain-hero or the counter-hero..." and so on which I think makes the exact point I was trying to make. RTG (talk) 17:15, 5 November 2012 (UTC)
Also I've tagged the 'champion' sense, which is tagged with rfc, but I'm now changing to RFV since nobody has been able to clear it up. Mglovesfun (talk) 17:53, 5 November 2012 (UTC)
RTG, above you seem to want to withdraw your nomination, do you still want to? You seem to think that this exists, so, rfv is the wrong place. I'm pretty sure you've just got this totally wrong. I was hoping you'd realize that for yourself and it would save me saying it. Mglovesfun (talk) 17:56, 5 November 2012 (UTC)
The above quote is from a book called The Tragic Hero Through the Ages by Karuna Shankur Mishra. Is that a good attestation? RTG (talk) 18:41, 5 November 2012 (UTC)
When a word is "wrongly used", it is still used. We are not a proscriptive dictionary. --WikiTiki89 18:54, 5 November 2012 (UTC)
Okay, then what about the sense evil hero. It's definitely attestable. Should it be put in as a mere attestion without definition? Should it be implied that, because it can be found to be used, it has become the truth? Do you imply that hero is attestably used in the phrase evil hero, or do you imply that hero means a person of evil, as attested by use of the phrase evil hero? RTG (talk) 19:14, 5 November 2012 (UTC)
@RTG, what's it to you? You're convinced the sense is valid anyway. Mglovesfun (talk) 23:04, 6 November 2012 (UTC)
It just lacked that aspect of definition and I couldn't see a simple edit from me to suffice so I tried it on the experts. Nothing strange. I'm just dragging it in off the porch for you to see I guess. The point is now made in the attestations I guess? I think it works best when it's all covered, and I get what it says on the tin, a very good dictionary at the expense of selfless dedication such as your own. Ask me to do something if you like. RTG (talk) 00:42, 7 November 2012 (UTC)
Hero: I've passed the "protagonist" sense—it's in clear widespread use; I've removed the "champion" sense—it had no citations and I'm not familiar with it. Protagonist: I've passed the literary sense (again, clear widespread use). - -sche (discuss) 05:22, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

RFC discussion: December 2011–May 2017[edit]

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  1. A real or mythical person of great bravery who carries out extraordinary deeds.
  2. A champion.

The second is at best ambiguous, a champion of what? A competition, like boxing or soccer or whatever, or someone who promotes something, or the Medieval sense?

For the first, it doesn't seem to cover actual usage. Do you have to 'carry out extraordinary deeds' to be a hero? Mglovesfun (talk) 14:14, 16 December 2011 (UTC)