pyrrhic

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Pyrrhic victory

A victory that is not worth achieving because of the excessive toll it takes on the victor. Winning the lawsuit was a Pyrrhic victory, since it cost us everything we had.
See also: pyrrhic, victory

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.
See also: pyrrhic, victory

a Pyrrhic victory

If you describe a victory as a Pyrrhic victory, you mean that although someone has won or gained something, they have also lost something which was worth even more. If gun-control advocates achieve their goals by threats, rather than through properly enacted legislation, it will be a Pyrrhic victory. Note: This expression comes from the victory of King Pyrrhus over the Romans, in which much of King Pyrrhus's army was killed.
See also: pyrrhic, victory