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

Impending danger or doom. The term comes from the same Greek legend about Damocles that gave us hang by a thread. Although the story illustrates the insecurity of power and high position, in later applications the term was used to signify any kind of impending misfortune.
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 ?
'My understanding of the sword of Damocles is it's an ax ready to fall anytime on whomever it may be directed.
Nato's Jamie Shea said a sword of Damocles was hanging over Milosevic's head.
Producer lack of confidence is hanging over the industry like the Sword of Damocles.'
To put that sort of money up in the first place is a Sword of Damocles over the route."
Which suspended object was the legendary figure Damocles forced to sit under?
But the FA's commercial chief Phil Carling described it as a "sword of Damocles hanging over us".
``For a long time we had a sword of Damocles hanging over us.
'The twin threats of South Korean price dumping and differences in the application of permissible aid within Europe hang like a Sword of Damocles over a UK shipbuilding industry for which the threat of yard closures and the mothballing of offshore fabricators has become all-too familiar,' said Harland and Wolff.
Mr Simpson added, "The sword of Damocles hangs over every worker with a pension.
Yorick Williams makes his debut for Pertemps Bullets tonight with the sword of Damocles poised to come down on his head if he puts a disciplinary foot wrong.
Is it not an appalling indictment of our society and government that here we are the fourth largest developed economy in the world, and yet, do most vulnerable elderly people who currently reside in care homes have to live with the sword of Damocles hanging over them?
"There are many people living under a 'sword of Damocles' near confirmed cases, every day anxiously examining their animals to see if they will be the next to be affected, " said Peredur Hughes, then NFU Cymru deputy president.
Today, politicians who have not been cleared through the law courts of corruption charges hanging over their heads like the sword of Damocles have been left off the hook by the government.
WHAT do The Sword of Damocles, Morton Heilig's Sensorama, and the 18th century apparatus La Nature a Coup d'OEIL all have in common?
The sword of Damocles still hangs, and Pakistan has to ensure compliance with the FATF action plan to counter money laundering and terror financing by October 2019.