Main definitions of pyrrhic in US English:

: pyrrhic1pyrrhic2

pyrrhic1

(also Pyrrhic)

adjective

  • attributive (of a victory) won at too great a cost to have been worthwhile for the victor.

    • ‘Nine times out of ten I lost, and made his a pyrrhic victory at best.’
    • ‘More troops would be sent, and eventually the British would grind their way to a pyrrhic victory.’
    • ‘To date he has won only pyrrhic victories on foundation hospitals and university top-up fees.’
    • ‘The pyrrhic victory came as violence continues unabated in Gujarat.’
    • ‘A more ‘equitable’, though ruined, Venezuela would be a pyrrhic victory indeed.’
    • ‘But it could be a pyrrhic victory which does the West no good in the long term.’
    • ‘The Khomeinists will do well, but will lack legitimacy, and it may be a pyrrhic victory for them.’
    • ‘Yet win he did, and that pyrrhic victory effectively condemned the party to the position it occupies today.’
    • ‘It would have been a pyrrhic victory had he succeeded: Satyanand revealed that the police file had disappeared.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Let our political discourse focus on this, and perhaps, more pyrrhic victories can be avoided.’
    • ‘Unless that is done, any military success in Afghanistan will be a pyrrhic victory.’
    • ‘For the council, however, it is something of a pyrrhic victory.’
    • ‘But, as 2002 revealed, it had been a pyrrhic victory.’
    • ‘No doubt, Sunday's win could turn out to be a pyrrhic victory.’
    • ‘Another pyrrhic victory is likely to be added to an already long list.’
    • ‘This is that ‘peace’ in that troubled province is of the most bitterly pyrrhic kind.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In a pyrrhic victory, I watch the American half of my children merge - more gracefully than I - into Kiwis.’
    • ‘The victory was pyrrhic because the Indonesian Police started investigating the company for alleged corruption.’
    • ‘The Liberals bought a pyrrhic victory, one that will sow the seeds of its own destruction.’
    meaningless, empty, valueless, worthless, useless, futile, of no use, of no value, of no avail, fruitless, profitless, pointless, unavailing
    View synonyms

Origin

Late 19th century: from the name Pyrrhus + -ic.

Pronunciation

pyrrhic

/ˈpirik//ˈpɪrɪk/

Main definitions of pyrrhic in US English:

: pyrrhic1pyrrhic2

pyrrhic2

noun

  • A metrical foot of two short or unaccented syllables.

Origin

Early 17th century: via Latin from Greek purrhikhios (pous) ‘pyrrhic (foot)’, the meter of a song accompanying a war dance, named after Purrhikhos, inventor of the dance.

Pronunciation

pyrrhic

/ˈpirik//ˈpɪrɪk/