Saturday, July 25, 2015

Word from Mythology: Hector

Last time I looked at how the Greek name "Mentor" became the English verb and noun, "mentor," and this time, you will see how the Greek name "Hector" becomes the English word "hector."

Hector was a prince of Troy and leader of the Trojan forces against the Greeks in the Trojan War. Homer's Iliad shows Hector having to shout at his troops, encouraging them to face their enemy bravely, and he also had to upbraid his cowardly brother Paris whose kidnapping of Helen precipitated the war. Hector's speeches led to the English verb "hector," which originally mean to shout, encourage, and domineer.

Over time, the English word "hector" has taken on negative connotations, meaning something like "to bluster, to bully," even though Hector is an entirely admirable character in the mythological tradition.

The painting below is "Hector Reproves Paris" by Richard Cook:

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