"hector" explanation?

Jesse T Sheidlower jester at PANIX.COM
Thu Jun 24 14:09:21 UTC 1999

A correspondent has written to question the use of _hector_
as a verb meaning 'to bully or bluster', or as an equivalent

In the _Iliad,_ Hector is portrayed quite favorably,
especially in comparison with the Greek heroes. He is brave,
a devoted family man--there's the famous scene with his wife
and the child frightened by his helmet. I've recently gone
through it again and there is an obscure scene late in the
poem where one of Hector's subordinates recommends a strategic
retreat and he rather forcefully tells him no; as it turns
out the subordinate was right. But still, overally, Hector
does not seem to be a bullying sort of guy.

Of the dictionaries WNW claims that this use is after
portrayals of Hector as a bully in early drama, but even if
true what is the origin of that portrayal? No other
dictionaries I've checked explain it.

Thanks for any ideas,

Jesse Sheidlower
<jester at panix.com>

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