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See also: pyrrhic



From Pyrrhus (318-272 BC), a king of Epirus whose forces sustained heavy losses in defeating the Romans.


  • IPA(key): /ˈpɪɹɪk/
  • (file)


Pyrrhic (comparative more Pyrrhic, superlative most Pyrrhic)

  1. (not comparable) Of or relating to Pyrrhus (319/318–272 BC), Greek general and statesman.
    The Pyrrhic army lost the Pyrrhic war.
  2. Achieved at too great a cost or detriment to have been worthwhile (as a victory, accomplishment, etc).
    • 1993, Steven Berglas, Roy F. Baumeister, Your Own Worst Enemy: Understanding the Paradox, page 166:
      Although this syndrome is thought to resemble patterns of Pyrrhic revenge []
    • 2010, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Black Swan, page 19:
      I feared a Pyrrhic victory: I had been vindicated intellectually, but I was afraid of being too right and seeing the system crumble under my feet.

Alternative forms[edit]

  • (achieved at too great a cost): pyrrhic

Related terms[edit]