"hector " as a verb

Gregory {Greg} Downing gd2 at IS2.NYU.EDU
Fri Jun 25 23:38:34 UTC 1999

At 04:51 PM 6/25/99 -0600, you wrote:
>     In reply to Jesse Sheidlower's query about the verb "hector," here is
>what Eric Partridge  says (_Name Into Word_, 1970 reprint of 2nd edition,
>     "HECTOR---...A hector is a bully, a blusterer, to hector is to bully
>to browbeat, to bluster: and formerly at least the noun was spelt with a
>capital initial, in deference to the unwitting originator, Hector, who, the
>son of Priam and Hecuba, was the Trojan hero of Homer's _Iliad_, where he
>is represented as the leader of the forces besieged in Troy and as being
>killed by Achilles.  In Homer, Hector is not a bullying braggart, and in
>English literature of the 14th-early 17th Centuries, his name stands for 'a
>gallant warrior':  the derogatory conception of his charater dates from the
>latter 17th Century, when the Hectors, a gang of disorderly young fellows
>that fancied themselves as very Hectors, disturbed the streets of London
>with their hooliganism;  popular drama took up this topical cue. ..."
> ----Gerald Cohen

Yes, I checked OED (but did not post, since it did not clarify the dramatic
source queried about in the first post on this thread). "Hector" seems to
take on this modern verbal sense, quite suddenly, in the 1660's.

Greg Downing/NYU, at greg.downing at nyu.edu or gd2 at is2.nyu.edu

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