One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(of a victory) won at too great a cost to have been worthwhile for the victor.
meaningless, empty, valueless, worthless, useless, futile, of no use, of no value, of no avail, fruitless, profitless, pointless, unavailingView synonyms
- ‘More troops would be sent, and eventually the British would grind their way to a pyrrhic victory.’
- ‘I don't know where the pain-killer story will lead, but the football story is probably a pyrrhic victory for the thought control police.’
- ‘But it could be a pyrrhic victory which does the West no good in the long term.’
- ‘Another pyrrhic victory is likely to be added to an already long list.’
- ‘To date he has won only pyrrhic victories on foundation hospitals and university top-up fees.’
- ‘For the council, however, it is something of a pyrrhic victory.’
- ‘The Khomeinists will do well, but will lack legitimacy, and it may be a pyrrhic victory for them.’
- ‘Unless that is done, any military success in Afghanistan will be a pyrrhic victory.’
- ‘Yet win he did, and that pyrrhic victory effectively condemned the party to the position it occupies today.’
- ‘The victory was pyrrhic because the Indonesian Police started investigating the company for alleged corruption.’
- ‘I had him flogged, but it was a pyrrhic victory: the woman promptly ran off with the peasant, and the tour guide with my money.’
- ‘No doubt, Sunday's win could turn out to be a pyrrhic victory.’
- ‘But, as 2002 revealed, it had been a pyrrhic victory.’
- ‘Nine times out of ten I lost, and made his a pyrrhic victory at best.’
- ‘This is that ‘peace’ in that troubled province is of the most bitterly pyrrhic kind.’
- ‘The pyrrhic victory came as violence continues unabated in Gujarat.’
- ‘The Liberals bought a pyrrhic victory, one that will sow the seeds of its own destruction.’
- ‘A more ‘equitable’, though ruined, Venezuela would be a pyrrhic victory indeed.’
- ‘It would have been a pyrrhic victory had he succeeded: Satyanand revealed that the police file had disappeared.’
- ‘Let our political discourse focus on this, and perhaps, more pyrrhic victories can be avoided.’
- ‘In a pyrrhic victory, I watch the American half of my children merge - more gracefully than I - into Kiwis.’
Late 19th century: from the name Pyrrhus + -ic.
A metrical foot of two short or unaccented syllables.
Early 17th century: via Latin from Greek purrhikhios (pous) ‘pyrrhic (foot)’, the metre of a song accompanying a war dance, named after Purrhikhos, inventor of the dance.
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