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Hydra

Hydra

In Greek mythology, the Hydra was a giant water snake with many heads that lived in a swamp near Lerna in the land of Argos. The number of heads is variously reported from as few as 5 to more than 100.



immortal able to live forever

The second of the 12 labors of Hercules* was to kill the Hydra. However, when one of the Hydra's heads was cut off, two more grew in its place. The monster also had one immortal head. To defeat the Hydra, Hercules called on his friend Iolaus for help. As soon as Hercules cut off one head, Iolaus would seal the wound with a hot iron or a torch so that nothing could grow to replace it. After removing the Hydra's immortal head, Hercules buried it under a large rock. He then collected the monster's poisonous blood. In later adventures, he dipped his arrows in the blood so that they would instantly kill whomever they struck.

See also Animals in Mythology; Greek Mythology; Hercules; Serpents and Snakes.

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Hydra

Hy·dra / ˈhīdrə/ 1. Greek Mythol. a many-headed snake whose heads grew again as they were cut off, killed by Hercules. ∎  [as n.] (hydra) a thing that is hard to overcome or resist because of its pervasive or enduring quality or its many aspects. 2. Astron. the largest constellation (the Water Snake or Sea Monster), said to represent the beast slain by Hercules. Its few bright stars are close to the celestial equator. Compare with Hydrus. ∎  [as genitive] (Hy·drae / -drē/ ) used with a preceding letter or numeral to designate a star in this constellation: the star Beta Hydrae.

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hydra

hydra fabulous many-headed snake whose heads grew again as fast as they were cut off XVI (earlier (h)ydre, idre); genus of freshwater polyps, so named from the fact that cutting it into pieces multiplies its numbers XVIII. — L. — Gr. húdrā water-serpent (cf. OTTER).

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Hydra

Hydra in Greek mythology, a many-headed snake whose heads grew again as they were cut off, killed by Hercules as the second of his Labours; in figurative usage, a thing which is hard to overcome or resist because of its pervasive or enduring quality or its many aspects.

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Hydra (in Greek mythology)

Hydra, in Greek mythology, many-headed water serpent; offspring of Typhon and Echidna. When one of its heads was cut off, two new heads appeared. The second labor of Hercules was to kill the monster. He did so by burning the neck after cutting off each head.

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