Damocles


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a/the sword of Damocles hangs over (one's) (head)

One is faced with imminent danger or trouble. In Greek mythology, the courtier Damocles was forced to sit beneath the sword suspended by a single hair to emphasize the instability of a king's fortunes. I know his history of violent behavior, so I feel like a sword of Damocles is hanging over my head whenever I'm alone with him. With the threat of nuclear war, many feel that the sword of Damocles hangs over the world like it never has before.
See also: Damocles, hang, of, over, sword

sword of Damocles

Imminent danger or trouble. In Greek mythology, the courtier Damocles was forced to sit beneath the sword suspended by a single hair to emphasize the instability of a king's fortunes. Usually used in the phrase "a/the sword of Damocles hangs over (one's) (head)."
See also: Damocles, of, sword

sword of Damocles hangs over (one)

One is faced with imminent danger or trouble. In Greek mythology, the courtier Damocles was forced to sit beneath a sword suspended by a single hair to emphasize the instability of a king's fortunes. I know his history of violent behavior, so I feel like a sword of Damocles is hanging over me whenever I'm alone with him. With the threat of nuclear war, many feel that the sword of Damocles hangs over the entire world.
See also: Damocles, hang, of, over, sword

Damocles' sword hangs over (one)

One is faced with imminent danger or trouble. In Greek mythology, the courtier Damocles was forced to sit beneath a sword suspended by a single hair to emphasize the instability of a king's fortunes. I know his history of violent behavior, so I feel like Damocles' sword is hanging over me whenever I'm alone with him. With the threat of nuclear war, many feel that Damocles' sword hangs over the entire world.
See also: hang, over, sword

Damocles' sword hangs over (one's) head

One is faced with imminent danger or trouble. In Greek mythology, the courtier Damocles was forced to sit beneath a sword suspended by a single hair to emphasize the instability of a king's fortunes. I know his history of violent behavior, so I feel like Damocles' sword is hanging over my head whenever I'm alone with him. With the threat of nuclear war, many feel that Damocles' sword hangs over the entire world's head.
See also: hang, head, over, sword

Damocles' sword

Any imminent, impending, or eventual trouble, danger, or disaster. In Greek mythology, the courtier Damocles was forced to sit beneath a sword suspended by a single hair to emphasize the instability of a king's fortunes. The threat of war has hung over the region like Damocles' sword for nearly a decade. The new tax law is going to be Damocles' sword hanging over our very business model.
See also: sword

sword of Damocles

Also, Damocles' sword. Impending disaster, as in The likelihood of lay-offs has been a sword of Damocles over the department for months. This expression alludes to the legend of Damocles, a servile courtier to King Dionysius I of Syracuse. The king, weary of Damocles' obsequious flattery, invited him to a banquet and seated him under a sword hung by a single hair, so as to point out to him the precariousness of his position. The idiom was first recorded in 1747. The same story gave rise to the expression hang by a thread.
See also: Damocles, of, sword

the Sword of Damocles hangs over someone

or

the Sword of Damocles hangs over someone's head

LITERARY
If the Sword of Damocles hangs over someone or hangs over their head, they are in a situation in which something very bad could happen to them at any time. As a Grand Prix driver you have the Sword of Damocles hanging over your head at every moment. He lives with the illness, knowing that it is a Sword of Damocles, hanging over him. Note: This expression comes from a Greek legend. Dionysius, the ruler of Syracuse, was annoyed by Damocles, who kept flattering him and saying how much he admired him. Dionysius invited Damocles to a feast, and asked him to sit in his own seat. When Damocles looked up during the feast, he noticed a sword hanging by a single thread above his head, and so he could no longer enjoy the feast. The sword symbolized the dangers and fears that rulers have, in addition to all the privileges.
See also: Damocles, hang, of, over, someone, sword

sword of Damocles

an imminent danger.
When the courtier Damocles described Dionysius I, ruler of Syracuse ( 405–367 bc ), as the happiest of men, Dionysius gave him a graphic demonstration of the fragility of his happiness: he invited Damocles to a banquet, in the middle of which he looked up to see a naked sword suspended over his head by a single hair.
See also: Damocles, of, sword

a/the sword of ˈDamocles

(literary) a bad or unpleasant thing that might happen to you at any time and that makes you feel worried or frightened: Now the news of my divorce is public, I’m relieved in a way. It had been hanging over my head like the sword of Damocles.This expression comes from the Greek legend in which Damocles had to sit at a meal with a sword hanging by a single hair above his head. He had praised King Dionysius’ happiness, and Dionysius wanted him to understand how quickly happiness can be lost.
See also: Damocles, of, sword

sword of Damocles

An imminent and/or constant threat. According to Greek legend, Damocles, a friend of King Dionysius of Syracuse, envied the ruler's great wealth and power. When Damocles told the king how fortunate he was, Dionysius offered to change places for a day. As Damocles dined at the head of the table, he happened to look up. There above his head, held by only a single horsehair, hung a sharp sword pointing downward toward his chair. Frozen with fear that the thread would break, he pointed out the predicament to the king. Dionysius nodded, acknowledging that the sword was a constant factor in his life, an actual and a metaphoric reminder that some person or circumstance might at any time cut the thread. Such risk, the king added, comes as an integral part of power. Any ever-present risk, especially one that's hanging by a thread, is how the phrase has been used.
See also: Damocles, of, sword
References in periodicals archive ?
The increasing publicity over Operation Damocles soon threatened relations between Israel and West Germany, and Ben-Gurion ordered the operation ended.
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One is exemplified by the legend of the sword of Damocles.
Nasrallah for his November editorial ("Psychiatry's 'swords of Damocles," CURRENT PSYCHIATRY, November 2012, p.
They have the Sword of Damocles hanging over their heads.
Both are hanging over the industry's fortunes like the sword of Damocles," he said.
Kilt-wearing violinist Olli Vnsk worked the fans into such a stupor that one responded by waving his four-foot imitation weapon aloft as though it was the Sword of Damocles itself.
The threat of a night flight ban is hanging like the Sword of Damocles over Frankfurt," Franz said at a logistics conference.
No-one likes to feel that the sword of Damocles is hanging over them.
Elections would be a sword of Damocles for Thaci as well, more than for other leaders.
Con El cuarto oscuro de Damocles se evidencia que se puede uno divertir con la lectura de novelas sin dejar de lado la profundidad del ser, como se me ocurre que podria decir Kundera.
It is not true to revive historical issues like the sword of Damocles swinging on Turkish-U.
This is a sword of Damocles hanging over the conference," commented Artur Runge-Metzger, the European Commission's chief negotiator.
Mr Clegg stressed cuts will begin next April and be spread over four years so there is no "sword of Damocles that's going to come down straight away".
But the specter of light pollution looms over astronomy like a sword of Damocles.