[proh-kruhs-tee-uh n]


pertaining to or suggestive of Procrustes.
(often lowercase) tending to produce conformity by violent or arbitrary means.

Origin of Procrustean

First recorded in 1840–50; Procruste(s) + -an Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for procrustean

Historical Examples of procrustean

  • It is revealed as the Procrustean bed which cramps us up until we ache inside.


    G. G. Putnam and Others

  • Freethought has no procrustean bed upon which it may bring all of its constituency to one and the same size.

  • It forced violin playing into a Procrustean bed unsuited to its true nature and mission.

    Nicolo Paganini: His Life and Work

    Stephen Samuel Stratton

  • Too late to catch the Folkestone packet, his bed is in Boulogne—no bed of roses, but a couch of Procrustean.

    Gwen Wynn

    Mayne Reid

  • Iron-bound, impersonal ethics, the procrustean bed of rules, he soon saw at their true value as the deification of averages.

    Memoir of Fleeming Jenkin

    Robert Louis Stevenson

British Dictionary definitions for procrustean



tending or designed to produce conformity by violent or ruthless methods
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 procrustean



1846 in figurative sense, "violently making conformable to standard," from Procrustes, mythical robber of Attica who seized travelers, tied them to his bed, and either stretched their limbs or lopped of their legs to make them fit it. The name is Greek Prokroustes "one who stretches," from prokrouein "to beat out, stretch out," from pro- "before" (see pro-) + krouein "to strike."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper