Hero or heroine?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by bosun, Mar 6, 2008.

  1. bosun Banned

    When you talk about the main character in a movie or book, what is the most popular word? For example,

    The heroin( or the hero???) in the book is described differently from that in the movie.
  2. boy_on_the_christmas_tree Banned

    "Heroin" is the female version.
  3. Arrius

    Arrius Senior Member

    English, UK
    A dangerous mistake here: heroine is the feminine form of hero, and heroin is a very illegal narcotic. Unfortunately, these days one reads more about heroin than one does about heroines!
  4. mplsray Senior Member

    The "main character" is the usual term used, I would say. Academics would use "protagonist" with the same meaning. "Hero" or "heroine" (note the spelling) would be used if the character does something heroic, but are usually used only when action is involved. Huckleberry Finn in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn makes, at one point, what I would consider a heroic moral decision, but few people would think of him as a hero, whereas everybody thinks of the main character in an action film as the hero of the film.
  5. ewhite

    ewhite Senior Member

    The female version of hero is heroine. Either word implies a good person, a champion.

    A more literary word for main character of either gender, would be protagonist.

    Heroin is an illegal highly addictive narcotic.
  6. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
    Heroine is the traditional way to refer to a female hero.

    But like "actor/actress" the distinction is growing vague. We often hear of female actors.

    We often hear of female authors.

    So you can still call them "heroines" but I doubt you would be called to task for using "hero" for both genders. At least I would not call you to task for that.

    The other reason I prefer it is that there cannot be a heroin/heroine error when typing.
  7. Arrius

    Arrius Senior Member

    English, UK
    Also (main) protagonist has the advantage that it may refer to an absolute villain who is often the main character in a film, play or book e.g. "The Day of the Jackal".
  8. bosun Banned

    so, when you mention the female main character in a book or in a movie, what is the most common way to refert it in written English?
  9. wishingiwasitalian Member

    Virginia, USA
    USA English
    Most people I know actually say and write "main character"

    unless it's an english paper, and I'd use "Protagonist"
  10. snorklebum

    snorklebum Senior Member

    Mexico English
    Protagonist is a fairly useless word, I would say. It implies ONE main character, whichis not always the case. For instance...who is the main character in a love story? Or a triangle?

    Heroine (if still politically permitted) is not technically what a lot of people think... the female lead. It's a female hero. Scarlett O'Hara, Modesty Blaise, Moll Flanders, Barbarella.

    The dramatic terms "lead" and "female lead" are often used. If you've got a single hero type thing you might refer to a "love interest".

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