pyrrhic

Use the adjective pyrrhic to describe a victory that is won, but at too great a cost. In this use as an adjective, the word is often capitalized.

The word pyrrhic comes from the Greek general, Pyrrhus, who defeated the Romans at the Battle of Asculum but lost so many troops that he couldn't defeat Rome itself. If you are the winner in an argument with your brother, but the fight ends up ruining your relationship with him, it's a Pyrrhic victory. An ancient Greek war dance is also called a pyrrhic.

PRIMARY MEANINGS OF: pyrrhic

1
adjn
of or relating to or resembling Pyrrhus or his exploits (especially his sustaining staggering losses in order to defeat the Romans)
an ancient Greek dance imitating the motions of warfare
2
adjn
of or relating to or containing a metrical foot of two unstressed syllables
a metrical unit with unstressed-unstressed syllables
FULL DEFINITIONS OF: pyrrhic
1

adj of or relating to or resembling Pyrrhus or his exploits (especially his sustaining staggering losses in order to defeat the Romans)

“a Pyrrhic victory”

adj of or relating to a war dance of ancient Greece

pyrrhic dance movements”

n an ancient Greek dance imitating the motions of warfare

Type of:
ceremonial dance, ritual dance, ritual dancing
a dance that is part of a religious ritual
2

adj of or relating to or containing a metrical foot of two unstressed syllables

pyrrhic verses”

n a metrical unit with unstressed-unstressed syllables

Synonyms:
dibrach
Type of:
foot, metrical foot, metrical unit
(prosody) a group of 2 or 3 syllables forming the basic unit of poetic rhythm
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