Printable Version
Pronunciation: hek-têr Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, Verb

Meaning: 1. [Noun] An intimidating braggart, a swaggering fellow, or bully. 2. [Verb] To bother, pester, annoy, niggle, nag. 3. [Verb] To bluster, brag, boast, toot one's own horn obnoxiously.

Notes: Hector and to hector are classical eponyms (see Word History). When encountered as proper noun, a male name, we are compelled to show it the respect of capitalization: Hector. When we use it as a common noun, we need not show it that much respect. It comes with an adjective, hectorly, an action noun, hectorism, as well as a personal noun, hectorer.

In Play: Today's Good Word normally implies repeatedly bullying: "Harley Davidson just won't stop hectoring me about his new motorcycle." However we use it, we must keep in mind that hectoring is generally looked upon as socially unacceptable: "Norman Conquest has been relieved of his duties for hectoring the boss over his worth to the company."

Word History: Today's Good Word comes from Hektor, the name of the son of Priam and Hecuba, husband of Andromache. He was a hero at the Battle of Troy. The original sense of the common noun was "as valiant a warrior as Hector". As the meaning changed, the spelling hasn't, so the spelling of this word remains identical with that of Latin, which simply transliterated the Greek. The name comes from a Greek adjective hector "holding fast" from the verb hexein "to hold, have". Hectic was somehow derived from the same verb. (Let's give his due Rob Towart for suggesting today's Good Word with its royally ancient history.)

Dr. Goodword,

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