heroism


heroism
heroism, valor, prowess, gallantry are comparable when they mean conspicuous courage or bravery in conduct or behavior especially during conflict.
Heroism, the strongest term, distinctively implies superlative, often transcendent, courage or bravery not only as exhibited by daring deeds in the presence of danger (as in a battle, a fire, or a wreck at sea) but in carrying through without submitting or yielding an eminently arduous but exalted enterprise (as an exploration) or in the same spirit fulfilling a super- humanly high purpose (as the conquest of self or the institution of a great moral reform) where the odds are against one
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acts of heroism are in the very essence of them but rare: for if they were common they would not be acts of heroismBentham

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the characteristic of genuine heroism is its persistency. All men have wandering impulses, fits and starts of generosity .... The heroic cannot be the common, nor the common the heroic— Emerson

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Valor has been applied to the quality of mind of one ready to meet dangers or hazards with courage and gallantry
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my valor is certainly going ... I feel it oozing out— Sheridan

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but far more often it implies both the possession of a high degree of sometimes moral, sometimes physical courage and the exhibition of that quality under stress (as in battle)
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awarded a medal for valor in action

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In contrast with heroism, valor implies illustrious rather than superlative courage or bravery; it carries a far weaker implication of a persistent struggle against odds but a stronger one of fearlessness and audacity in conflict with a powerful enemy
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real valor consists not in being insensible to danger, but in being prompt to confront and disarm it— Scott

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the stupid valor of the Englishman never knows when it is beaten; and, sometimes, . . . succeeds in not being beaten after all— Kingsley

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must men conscientiously risk their careers only for principles which hindsight declares to be correct, in order for posterity to honor them for their valor?—Kennedy

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Prowess has become essentially a literary term in its original sense, in which it differs from valor chiefly in its greater emphasis upon brilliant achievements or exploits in arms
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how insignificant a thing . . . does personal prowess appear compared with the fortitude of patience and heroic martyrdom— Wordsworth

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warfare was a means of demonstrating tribal prowess and superiority to other tribes— Fathauer

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Often prowess loses its basic implication of distinguished skill and bravery in arms and means little more than success in competition typically as based on the possession of manly skills (as in athletics or hunting)
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among male animals, the human male is . . . (at least for constancy if not for prowess) without doubt the best mammal in the business— La Barre

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power derived from . . . technical prowessAron

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Gallantry more than valor, its close synonym, stresses mettle and spirit as well as courage and an almost gay indifference to danger or hardship
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few augured the possibility that the encounter could terminate well for . . . the Disinherited Knight, yet his courage and gallantry secured the general good wishes of the spectators— Scott

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the desperate gallantry of our naval task forces— Marshall

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Analogous words: bravery, intrepidity, dauntlessness, doughtiness (see corresponding adjectives at BRAVE): *courage, tenacity, resolution, mettle, spirit: *fortitude, pluck, grit, guts, sand

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Heroism — Her o*ism (?; 277), n. [F. h[ e]ro[ i]sme.] The qualities characteristic of a hero, as courage, bravery, fortitude, unselfishness, etc.; the display of such qualities. [1913 Webster] Heroism is the self devotion of genius manifesting itself in… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • heroism — index prowess (bravery) Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • heroism — 1717, from Fr. héroisme, from heros (see HERO (Cf. hero) (1)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • heroism — [n] bravery boldness, courage, courageousness, daring, doughtiness, fearlessness, fortitude, gallantry, intrepidity, nobility, prowess, spirit, strength, valiance, valiancy, valor, valorousness; concepts 411,633 Ant. cowardice, fear, meekness,… …   New thesaurus

  • heroism — ► NOUN ▪ great bravery …   English terms dictionary

  • heroism — [her′ō iz΄əm] n. [Fr héroisme] the qualities and actions of a hero or heroine; bravery, nobility, valor, etc …   English World dictionary

  • heroism — noun ADJECTIVE ▪ extraordinary, real, true ▪ individual VERB + HEROISM ▪ display, show ▪ …   Collocations dictionary

  • heroism — /her oh iz euhm/, n. 1. the qualities or attributes of a hero or heroine: He showed great heroism in battle. 2. heroic conduct; courageous action: Pat s returning into the burning building was true heroism. [1660 70; HERO + ISM; cf. F héroïsme]… …   Universalium

  • heroism — n. to demonstrate, display heroism * * * [ herəʊɪz(ə)m] display heroism to demonstrate …   Combinatory dictionary

  • heroism — [[t]he̱roʊɪzəm[/t]] N UNCOUNT Heroism is great courage and bravery. ...individual acts of heroism …   English dictionary


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