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Talking about a great fantasy hero, it was said that he "was the hero of ages". What does that mean?

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Not just the hero of this week, this year, or this century: he was the hero of ages! –  GEdgar Aug 8 '13 at 12:31
So I can rephrase it as "one of the greatest heroes of all times"? –  Lorenzo Aug 8 '13 at 12:38
No! "the hero of ..." means "the (very) top one" - not "one of the top ones". –  TrevorD Aug 8 '13 at 13:19
Surely he was “the hero of the ages”, right? –  tchrist Aug 8 '13 at 14:11
@TrevorD oh, right, thank you! –  Lorenzo Aug 8 '13 at 17:42

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

According to the American Heritage Dictionary (and others), the word age can mean

a. The period of history during which a person lives: a product of his age.

b. A generation: ages yet unborn.

The phrase the ages is often used to express a very long time.

The phrase hero of ages seems to suggest that the individual is a champion who would be revered over a long period of time.

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