- The definition of Achilles is a figure from Greek mythology who was a hero of the Trojan War.
An example of Achilles is the warrior who died from being shot in the heel with an arrow.
A statue of the Greek warrior, Achilles.Licensed from iStockPhoto
Origin: Classical Latin ; from Classical Greek Achilleus
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
noun Greek Mythology
Achilles - Cultural Definition
In classical mythology, the greatest warrior on the Greek side in the Trojan War (see also Trojan War). When he was an infant, his mother tried to make him immortal by bathing him in a magical river, but the heel by which she held him remained vulnerable. During the Trojan War, he quarreled with the commander, Agamemnon, and in anger sulked in his tent. Eventually Achilles emerged to fight and killed the Trojan hero Hector, but he was wounded in the heel by an arrow and died shortly thereafter.
- People speak of an “Achilles' heel” as the one weak or sore point in a person's character.
- The Achilles tendon runs from the heel to the calf.
- Achilles is the hero of Homer's Iliad.
- The phrase “wrath of Achilles” refers to the hero's anger, which caused so much destruction that Homer refers to it as his main theme in the first line of the Iliad.