Hero vs. Martyr

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Hero and Martyr is that the Hero is a person who displays characteristics of heroism and Martyr is a person who suffers persecution and death for advocating, refusing to renounce, and/or refusing to advocate a belief or cause, usually a religious one.

  • Hero

    A hero (masculine) or heroine (feminine) is a person or main character of a literary work who, in the face of danger, combats adversity through feats of ingenuity, bravery or strength, often sacrificing their own personal concerns for a greater good.

    The concept of the hero can be found in classical literature. It is the main or revered character in heroic epic poetry celebrated through ancient legends of a people, often striving for military conquest and living by a continually flawed personal honor code. The definition of a hero has changed throughout time. Merriam Webster dictionary defines a hero as “a person who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities.” Examples of heroes range from mythological figures, such as Gilgamesh, Achilles and Iphigenia, to historical figures, such as Joan of Arc, modern heroes like Alvin York, Audie Murphy and Chuck Yeager, and fictional superheroes, including Superman and Batman.

  • Martyr

    A martyr (Greek: μάρτυς, mártys, “witness”; stem μάρτυρ-, mártyr-) is someone who suffers persecution and death for advocating, renouncing, refusing to renounce, or refusing to advocate a belief or cause as demanded by an external party. In the martyrdom narrative of the remembering community, this refusal to comply with the presented demands results in the punishment or execution of an actor by an alledged oppressor. Accordingly, the status of the ‘martyr’ can be considered a posthumous title as a reward for those who are considered worthy of the concept of martyrdom by the living, regardless of any attempts by the deceased to control how they will be remembered in advance. Originally applied only to those who suffered for their religious beliefs, the term has come to be used in connection with people killed for a political cause.

    Most martyrs are considered holy or are respected by their followers, becoming symbols of exceptional leadership and heroism in the face of difficult circumstances. Martyrs play significant roles in religions. Similarly, martyrs have had notable effects in secular life, including such figures as Socrates, among other political and cultural examples.

  • Hero (noun)

    Somebody who possesses great bravery and carries out extraordinary deeds.

  • Hero (noun)

    A role model.

  • Hero (noun)

    The main protagonist in a work of fiction.

  • Hero (noun)

    The current player, especially an hypothetical player for example and didactic purposes. Compare: any opponent player. Not to be confused with a weak call against a supposed bluff.

    “Let’s discuss how to play if the hero has KK, and there’s an ace on board.”

  • Hero (noun)

    A large sandwich made from meats and cheeses; a hero sandwich.

  • Hero (noun)

    The product chosen from several candidates to be photographed.

  • Martyr (noun)

    One who willingly accepts being put to death for adhering openly to one’s religious beliefs; notably, saints canonized after martyrdom.

    “Saint Stephen was the first Christian martyr.”

  • Martyr (noun)

    One who sacrifices his or her life, station, or something of great personal value, for the sake of principle or to sustain a cause.

  • Martyr (noun)

    One who suffers greatly and/or constantly, even involuntarily.

    “”Stan is a martyr to arthritis, Chris a martyr to Stan’s endless moaning about it.”

  • Martyr (verb)

    To make someone into a martyr by putting him or her to death for adhering to, or acting in accordance with, some belief, especially religious; to sacrifice on account of faith or profession.

  • Martyr (verb)

    To persecute.

    “Some religious and other minorities were martyred until extinction.”

  • Martyr (verb)

    To torment; to torture.

    “The lovely Amoret, whose gentle heart”

    “Thou martyrest with sorrow and with smart.” — Spenser”

  • Martyr (noun)

    a person who is killed because of their religious or other beliefs

    “the first Christian martyr”

  • Martyr (noun)

    a person who displays or exaggerates their discomfort or distress in order to obtain sympathy

    “she wanted to play the martyr”

  • Martyr (noun)

    a constant sufferer from (an ailment)

    “I’m a martyr to migraine!”

  • Martyr (verb)

    kill (someone) because of their beliefs

    “she was martyred for her faith”

  • Martyr (verb)

    cause great pain or distress to

    “there was no need to martyr themselves again”

Oxford Dictionary

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