Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: héroïne and heroïne



From Latin hērōīna, from late Ancient Greek ἡρωΐνη (hērōḯnē) (2nd century), a feminine equivalent of ἥρως (hḗrōs, hero, demigod), equivalent to hero +‎ -ine.

  • English from 1650. The sense of "female lead character" is from 1715.


  • IPA(key): /ˈhɛɹoʊɪn/, /ˈhɪɹoʊɪn/
  • (file)
  • Homophone: heroin


heroine (plural heroines, masculine hero)

  1. A female hero.
  2. A female lead character.
    • 1905, Baroness Emmuska Orczy, chapter 2, in The Affair at the Novelty Theatre[1]:
      Miss Phyllis Morgan, as the hapless heroine dressed in the shabbiest of clothes, appears in the midst of a gay and giddy throng; she apostrophises all and sundry there, including the villain, and has a magnificent scene which always brings down the house, and nightly adds to her histrionic laurels.

Usage notes[edit]

  • In sense 1, hero, the masculine of heroine, is sometimes used, though it is still acceptable to use the feminine.
She is an American hero (or heroine).
  • Like feminine nouns formed with the suffix -ess, heroine refers only to females, whereas hero can refer to both males and females.
Who is your favorite hero? (answer can refer to either gender)
Who is your favorite heroine? (answer can refer only to females)


Derived terms[edit]