• WordNet 3.6
    • adj pyrrhic of or relating to or resembling Pyrrhus or his exploits (especially his sustaining staggering losses in order to defeat the Romans) "a Pyrrhic victory"
    • adj pyrrhic of or relating to or containing a metrical foot of two unstressed syllables "pyrrhic verses"
    • adj pyrrhic of or relating to a war dance of ancient Greece "pyrrhic dance movements"
    • n pyrrhic an ancient Greek dance imitating the motions of warfare
    • n pyrrhic a metrical unit with unstressed-unstressed syllables
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Pyrrhic (Pros) A foot consisting of two short syllables.
    • Pyrrhic An ancient Greek martial dance, to the accompaniment of the flute, its time being very quick.
    • Pyrrhic (Pros) Of or pertaining to a pyrrhic, or to pyrrhics; containing pyrrhic; as, a pyrrhic verse.
    • Pyrrhic Of or pertaining to an ancient Greek martial dance. "ye have the pyrrhic dance as yet."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n pyrrhic An ancient Grecian warlike dance, in quick and light measure, accompanied by the flute. It consisted chiefly in adroit and nimble steps and motions of the body, intended to represent the attempt to avoid strokes of an enemy in battle and to inflict injury upon him. It was performed under arms, and the movements and practice necessary were looked upon as training for service in the field.
    • pyrrhic Of or pertaining to the Greek martial dance called a pyrrhic.
    • pyrrhic In prosody, consisting of two short times or syllables: as, a pyrrhic foot; composed of or pertaining to feet so constituted: as, pyrrhic verse; pyrrhic rhythm.
    • n pyrrhic In ancient prosody, a foot consisting of two short times or syllables. ; A pyrrhic is apparently a disemic isorrhythmic foot (˘´ | ˘ or ˘ | ˘´). The earlier and better ancient authorities (the rhythmicians), however, did not acknowledge the existence of a disemic foot, and it seems to have been first introduced into metrical analysis by the grammarians and later metricians. An apparent pyrrhic (˘ ˘) can occur — at the end of an iambic line (˘ ˘ for ˘ —)
    • pyrrhic Pertaining to Pyrrhus, especially to Pyrrhus, King of Epirus (see phrase below).
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Pyrrhic pir′ik a kind of war-dance among the ancient Greeks: a poetical foot consisting of two short syllables
    • adj Pyrrhic pertaining to the dance or to the poetical foot
    • adj Pyrrhic pir′ik of or pertaining to Pyrrhus, king of Epirus (318-272 B.C.)
    • ***


Pyrrhic victory - A Pyrrhic victory is one that causes the victor to suffer so much to achieve it that it isn't worth winning.


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. pyrrhichius,sc. pes,), Gr. (sc. ): cf. F. pyrrhique, masc


In literature:

But it was, it must be confessed, a Pyrrhic victory.
"The Great Boer War" by Arthur Conan Doyle
NATO has emerged from its Pyrrhic victory in Kosovo shell shocked and riven by internal strains.
"After the Rain" by Sam Vaknin
The Khalifa had won a Pyrrhic triumph.
"The River War" by Winston S. Churchill
Pyrrhic (pir'ik), Pyrrhic dance, a Greek martial dance.
"Elson Grammar School Literature, Book Four." by William H. Elson
To the South, Bull Run was a Pyrrhic victory.
"Stonewall Jackson And The American Civil War" by G. F. R. Henderson
PYRRHIC DANCE, the chief war-dance of the Greeks, of quick, light movement to the music of flutes; was of Cretan or Spartan origin.
"The Nuttall Encyclopaedia" by Edited by Rev. James Wood
He fell in the fire and used hideous language in Latin and French, but I do not know whether that was Pyrrhic also.
"The Ethics of Drink and Other Social Questions" by James Runciman
The Pyrrhic dance of the Greeks was a sort of military Pantomime.
"A History of Pantomime" by R. J. Broadbent
A week before this Pyrrhic triumph, Napoleon had heard of a terrible reverse to French arms in Spain.
"The Life of Napoleon I (Volumes, 1 and 2)" by John Holland Rose
Poetry, in these cases, wins perhaps at most a Pyrrhic victory over reluctant matter.
"Recent Developments in European Thought" by Various

In poetry:

You have the Pyrrhic dance as yet,
Where is the Pyrrhic phalanx gone?
Of two such lessons, why forget
The nobler and the manlier one?
You have the letters Cadmus gave-
Think ye he meant them for a slave?
"Don Juan: Canto The Third" by Lord George Gordon Byron

In news:

Like a lot of people, I figure that victory in this weekend's Greek election is purely Pyrrhic.
And it's hard not to belabor the pyrrhic reward of "interim".
Morgan Stanley Win on Brokerage Would Be Pyrrhic Victory.
For ACA ruling's winners, perhaps a Pyrrhic victory.
Greek Election Leaves Pyrrhic Victory Risk as Aid Talks Near.
Law & Apple: Pyrrhic Victory in Germany, Storm Clouds in California.
A Pyrrhic 'Victory' The budget deal turns out to have been a defeat for Republicans.
A Sapphic Victory, but Pyrrhic .
Morgan Stanley Win on Brokerage Would Be Pyrrhic Victory .
For ACA ruling's winners, perhaps a Pyrrhic victory .
A Pyrrhic 'Victory ' The budget deal turns out to have been a defeat for Republicans.
A Sapphic Victory, but Pyrrhic.
A Pyrrhic Victory for America's Youth Will the president's young fans stop dancing when the entitlement bill comes due.
' Boardwalk Empire' Season Finale Recap: Pyrrhic Victory.
In Apple's Pyrrhic victory, Samsung really comes out ahead.