Procrustes's Bed

   Procrustes, in Greek legend, was a brigand, a highwayman, who lived near Attica and lured travelers into his roadside home by offering them a bed for the night. Procrustes amused himself by forcing these travelers to lie on his iron bed and be fitted to it. If they were too short, he stretched them on a rack until they fit; those who were too long, he cut down to size.
   The adjective procrustean denotes the use of violence to gain uniformity or the arbitrary imposition of conformity. Trying to make an entirely new situation fit old standards may be a procrustean effort. Foreordained standards that require conformity may be called a procrustean bed. Procrustes, who enjoyed seeing things fit, had a fitting end. Theseus, son of the king of Athens, using Procrustes's own methods, placed Procrustes on the torture device, just as he had done to his victims so many times before. Whether he was too short or too long is unknown.

Dictionary of eponyms. . 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Procrustes' bed — Procrustes bed, anything with which people or things are forced to conform, especially by violent and arbitrary means: »It is becoming increasingly necessary to find some way of breaking out of the Procrustes bed that the British press has got… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Procrustes — Pro*crus tes, n. [L., fr. Gr. ?, fr. ? to beat out, to stretch; ? forward + ? to strike.] (Gr. Antiq.) A celebrated legendary highwayman of Attica, who tied his victims upon an iron bed, and, as the case required, either stretched or cut of their …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Procrustes — Damastes redirects here. See also Huntsman spider. For the Larry Niven story, see Procrustes (short story). Theseus and Procrustes, Attic red figure neck amphora, 570–560 BC, Staatliche Antikensammlungen (Inv. 2325) In Greek mythology Pr …   Wikipedia

  • Procrustes — /proh krus teez/, n. Class. Myth. a robber who stretched or amputated the limbs of travelers to make them conform to the length of his bed. He was killed by Theseus. Also called Damastes. * * * ▪ Greek mythological figure also called  Polypemon,… …   Universalium

  • Procrustes analysis — In statistics, Procrustes analysis is a form of statistical shape analysis used to analyse the distribution of a set of shapes. The name Procrustes refers to a bandit from Greek mythology who made his victims fit his bed either by stretching… …   Wikipedia

  • Procrustes — noun A celebrated legendary highwayman of Attica, who tied his victims upon an iron bed, and, as the case required, either stretched or cut off their legs to adapt them to its length. See Also: Procrustean assignment, procrustean bed …   Wiktionary

  • procrustes bed — noun see procrustean bed …   Useful english dictionary

  • Procrustes — noun Etymology: Latin, from Greek Prokroustēs Date: 1567 a villainous son of Poseidon in Greek mythology who forces travelers to fit into his bed by stretching their bodies or cutting off their legs …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • PROCRUSTES —    a brigand of ancient Attica, who when any one fell into his hands placed him on a bed, stretching him out if he was too short for it and amputating him if he was too long till he died; he was one day overpowered by Theseus, who tortured him to …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Procrustes — n. robber who altered his victims to fit his bed by stretching them or cutting off their legs (Classical Mythology) …   English contemporary dictionary

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