Word of the Day: Pyrrhic
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.
Recommended for you: « Be Sure to Check Your Sources »
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)
Improve your English: « Subscribe to our posts and exercises »
Subscribe to Receive our Articles and Exercises via Email
- You will improve your English in only 5 minutes per day, guaranteed!
- Subscribers get access to our exercise archives, writing courses, writing jobs and much more!
- You'll also get three bonus ebooks completely free!
6 Responses to “Word of the Day: Pyrrhic”
Thank you Maeve Maddox.
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.”
But what does it basically mean? Does it mean “something that has a great cost to it”?
Good question. Perhaps you can also say “pyrrhic battle” or “pyrrhic attempt.”
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.
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! 🙂