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a Pyrrhic victory

a victory that is not worth winning because you have suffered so much to achieve it Winning the case may well prove to be a Pyrrhic victory as the award will not even cover their legal fees.
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