a flatterer who, having extolled the happiness of Dionysius, tyrant of Syracuse, was seated at a banquet with a sword suspended over his head by a single hair to show him the perilous nature of that happiness.
Idioms about Damocles
sword of Damocles, any situation threatening imminent harm or disaster.
- Dam·o·cle·an [dam-uh-klee-uhn], /ˌdæm əˈkli ən/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024
How to use Damocles in a sentence
It hung a sword of Damocles over laws requiring political campaigns to disclose their donors.3 winners and 3 losers from the just-completed Supreme Court term | Ian Millhiser | July 2, 2021 | Vox
Those threats have served as a sort of twin sword of Damocles, forcing studios, networks and agencies to do the right thing after decades of denying there was a problem.Oscar nominees are more diverse than ever. And that raises more questions about numbers and nuance. | Ann Hornaday | March 19, 2021 | Washington Post
Then as now, the majority of Americans had little interest in examining the nuclear sword of Damocles their fear had wrought.
Of course, if we can mix our classical references, Russia has its Sword of Damocles to cut this Gordian Knot.
Did he understand that he would now have to live with a sword—not of Damocles but of polonium—hanging over his head?
The United States insists that the option of force—a sword of Damocles—be included in any Security Council resolution.
But that particular sword of Damocles has floated off into the ether.
The sword of Damocles hanging over their heads, to make them remember.Space Prison | Tom Godwin
And Damocles knew the sword was there, or there'd have been no point in it.Tristram of Blent | Anthony Hope
The fabled sword of Damocles hangs suspended over my head, still it may never fall.A Dreadful Temptation | Mrs. Alex. McVeigh Miller
He alludes to the story of Damocles, a flatterer of one of those Sicilian tyrants, namely Dionysius.Dryden's Works (13 of 18): Translations; Pastorals | John Dryden
The Damocles' sword of defiant authority was suspended over the head of every Russian writer.Contemporary Russian Novelists | Serge Persky
British Dictionary definitions for Damocles
classical myth a sycophant forced by Dionysius, tyrant of Syracuse, to sit under a sword suspended by a hair to demonstrate that being a king was not the happy state Damocles had said it was: See also Sword of Damocles
- Damoclean, adjective
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