a victory or goal achieved at too great a cost.
- Compare Cadmean victory.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use Pyrrhic victory in a sentence
But Howard Kurtz says it could prove a Pyrrhic victory that could threaten his second-term agenda.Obama Fiscal Cliff Victory Could Invite Years of Warfare With the GOP | Howard Kurtz | January 2, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
That sounds like a setup for what is known as a Pyrrhic victory.
British Dictionary definitions for Pyrrhic victory
a victory in which the victor's losses are as great as those of the defeated: Also called: Cadmean victory
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
Cultural definitions for Pyrrhic victory
A victory that is accompanied by enormous losses and leaves the winners in as desperate shape as if they had lost. Pyrrhus was an ancient general who, after defeating the Romans, told those who wished to congratulate him, “One more such victory and Pyrrhus is undone.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Other Idioms and Phrases with Pyrrhic victory
A victory that is offset by staggering losses, as in The campaign was so divisive that even though he won the election it was a Pyrrhic victory. This expression alludes to Kind Pyrrhus of Epirus, who defeated the Romans at Asculum in b.c. 279, but lost his best officers and many of his troops. Pyrrhus then said: “Another such victory and we are lost.” In English the term was first recorded (used figuratively) in 1879.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.