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Cadmean victory

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noun
  1. a victory attained at as great a loss to the victor as to the vanquished.
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Origin of Cadmean victory

First recorded in 1595–1605
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for cadmean victory

Cadmean victory

noun
  1. another name for Pyrrhic victory
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for cadmean victory

Cadmean victory

n.

c.1600, "victory involving one's own ruin," translating Greek Kadmeia nike, from Cadmus (Greek Kadmos), legendary founder of Thebes in Boeotia and bringer of the alphabet to Greece. Probably a reference to the story of Cadmus and the "Sown-Men," who fought each other till only a handful were left alive. Cf. Pyrrhic (adj.1).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper