Pyrrhic Victory

   Pyrrhus (319-272 B.C.), king of Epirus, a kingdom in northern Greece, engaged the Romans in a bloody battle at Asculum in 279 B.C. Pyrrhus's troops defeated the Roman legions, but at a tragic cost. So many of his soldiers were lost—all his best officers and many men, the flower of his army—that Pyrrhus exclaimed, according to Plutarch, "One more such victory and I am undone." By the time Pyrrhus and his soldiers limped back to Epirus, the decimated Grecian army had been reduced from twenty-five thousand troops to eight thousand.
   Pyrrhus was a great warrior, a second cousin of Alexander the Great, but he never succeeded in his hope of reestablishing the empire once ruled by his cousin. How Pyrrhus died is a matter of dispute among word detectives. Some say he was killed in a skirmish with the Romans at Argos; others say that he was killed by an angry mob at Argos after his attempts to capture the city failed; and still others maintain that he died a quite ignoble death from a tile that might have accidentally fallen from a roof.
   A Pyrrhic victory, made at a staggering cost, is no joyous victory.

Dictionary of eponyms. . 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Pyrrhic victory — Pyrrhic Pyr rhic, a. [L. pyrrhichius, Gr. ? belonging to the ? (sc. ?) a kind of war dance.] 1. Of or pertaining to an ancient Greek martial dance. ye have the pyrrhic dance as yet. Byron. [1913 Webster] 2. (Pros.) Of or pertaining to a pyrrhic,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pyrrhic victory — A Pyrrhic victory is one that causes the victor to suffer so much to achieve it that it isn t worth winning …   The small dictionary of idiomes

  • Pyrrhic victory — [pir′ik, pir′ik] n. [Gr Pyrrhikos] a too costly victory: in reference to either of two victories of Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, over the Romans in 280 and 279 B.C., with very heavy losses …   English World dictionary

  • Pyrrhic victory — A Pyrrhic victory (IPAEng|ˈpɪrɪk) is a victory with devastating cost to the victor. The phrase is named after King Pyrrhus of Epirus, whose army suffered irreplaceable casualties in defeating the Romans at Heraclea in 280 BC and Asculum in 279 BC …   Wikipedia

  • pyrrhic victory — UK [ˌpɪrɪk ˈvɪkt(ə)rɪ] / US noun [countable] Word forms pyrrhic victory : singular pyrrhic victory plural pyrrhic victories a victory that is not worth winning because you lost a lot in order to achieve it …   English dictionary

  • Pyrrhic victory —    A victory that is obtained at a tremendous cost, or causes such a great loss that it is not worth winning, is called a Pyrrhic victory.     It was a Pyrrhic victory. The shop owner won the lawsuit but went bankrupt because of the legal… …   English Idioms & idiomatic expressions

  • pyrrhic victory — [[t]pɪ̱rɪk vɪ̱ktəri[/t]] pyrrhic victories N COUNT If you describe a victory as a pyrrhic victory, you mean that although someone has won or gained something, they have also lost something which was worth even more …   English dictionary

  • Pyrrhic Victory — A victory or success that comes at the expense of great losses or costs. In business, examples of such a victory could be succeeding at a hostile takeover bid or winning a lengthy and expensive lawsuit. In 2001, Microsoft won a Pyrrhic victory in …   Investment dictionary

  • pyrrhic victory —    A Pyrrhic victory is one that causes the victor to suffer so much to achieve it that it isn t worth winning.   (Dorking School Dictionary) …   English Idioms & idiomatic expressions

  • Pyrrhic victory —   A Pyrrhic victory is one that causes the victor to suffer so much to achieve it that it isn t worth winning …   Dictionary of English idioms

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