Word of the Day: Pyrrhic

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Pyrrhic (p1r’1k), the noun, is a metrical unit. It is used more widely as an adjective, however, as in “pyrrhic victory,” which means a victory with huge costs. It makes reference to Pyrrhus from Epirus, who sustained great losses in order to defeat the Roman army.

Mr Murdoch has, however, paid a high price for Dow Jones—at least $1 billion, and perhaps $2 billion more than appears justified by the fundamentals of the business—so News Corporation’s shareholders may come to regard his victory as pyrrhic. (The Economist)

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6 thoughts on “Word of the Day: Pyrrhic”

  1. Whenever I hear that word it’s always attached to the word “victory.” Can it be used as an adjective with any other word?

    Nice word! 🙂

  2. It is most commonly used with Victory simply because you pay a lot to win. Not only do you sustain losses but also the profit from the victory is probably more than what you spent to get it.

  3. Barak,
    Yes, the victory is won, but the victor has lost a great deal in order to accomplish it. King Pyrrhus lost so many of his men that he is said to have remarked:

    “one more such victory would utterly undo me.”

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