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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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

Pyrrhic victory

a victory gained at too great a cost.
Pyrrhus was a king of Epirus, who defeated the Romans at Asculum in 279 bc , but in doing so sustained heavy losses and lost his finest troops.
See also: pyrrhic, victory
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

a ˌPyrrhic ˈvictory

a victory which is achieved at too high a price and therefore not worth having: It was a Pyrrhic victory. They won the strike but then most of them lost their jobs.This idiom refers to Pyrrhus, King of Epirus, who in 279BC defeated the Romans but lost all his best officers and men.
See also: pyrrhic, victory
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

Pyrrhic victory

A victory that is worse for the winners than the losers. The term refers to the victory of King Pyrrhus of Epirus over the Romans at Asculum in 279 b.c. In this first major battle between the Greeks and the Romans, Pyrrhus lost his best officers and many of his troops. Ever since the term Pyrrhic victory has meant a victory so costly that it counts as a defeat.
See also: pyrrhic, victory
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
The ancient Pyrrhic dance from Greece - according to some, a precursor to Attan
This release is a filler for Pyrrhic before the release of his debut album
A Pyrrhic victory is a victory with such a devastating cost that it is tantamount to defeat.
"It's a Pyrrhic victory" for Ukraine, said Carl Bildt, Sweden's foreign minister, who helped craft the Eastern Partnership back in 2009.
To opt for control of a low income tax take but risk losing Barnett and other funding from Westminster would be a Pyrrhic victory.
In his first remarks since being asked to form a government by President Giorgio Napolitano, Letta said his "surprise" at being nominated was "equal to the profound sense of responsibility that I feel weighing on my shoulders." He is expected to lead the PD into a coalition with Silvio Berlusconi's conservatives and centrists led by outgoing premier Mario Monti - an outcome his party had resisted with all his might since a pyrrhic victory in February elections left it short of a clear parliamentary majority.
judge granted Samsung a somewhat Pyrrhic victory when he ruled that the Korean company's Galaxy tablets did not infringe the iPad because they weren't "cool" enough to be confused with Apple's product.
The decades-long battle between communism and capitalism--essentially two different ways of organizing the economy that became spiritually motivating raisons d'etres for large segments of the world--ended in a pyrrhic victory for capitalists.
MPs welcomed the decision to save the QDG but described it as a "pyrrhic victory" as the larger 2nd Battalion of the Royal Welsh is to be scrapped.
WHEN COLOMBIA'S CONSTITUTIONAL Court ruled in 2011 in favor of a 12-year-old girl who sought an abortion because her life and health were in danger, it was a pyrrhic victory.
As pyrrhic victories go, though, this one was right up there for Rangers.
From Netanyahu's perspective, the suspension of the Iranian nuclear threat could become a Pyrrhic victory: The world powers will turn toward other crises in the Middle East--including, of course, the Israeli occupation and its injustices.
"Building a large number of ships is necessary, but building a large number of ships with limited combat capability at the expense of increasing the number of ships with higher capability could well be a Pyrrhic victory."
The thirteen stories in this collection are organised by date of publication although the fourth, 'A Pyrrhic Victory' was actually the first written.
A week ago, the Los Angeles Times noted, "Palestinian leaders lack a clear strategy, yet they are under pressure to keep the momentum going or risk a public backlash." The UNESCO victory is something of a Pyrrhic oneamong other things, the Palestinian Authority risks going bankrupt due to Israel's continued refusal to hand over tax transfersand given the lack of popularity for its membership bid among the U.N.