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Procrustes

[proh-kruhs-teez] /proʊˈkrʌs tiz/
noun, Classical Mythology
1.
a robber who stretched or amputated the limbs of travelers to make them conform to the length of his bed. He was killed by Theseus.
Also called Damastes.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for Procrustes

Procrustes

/prəʊˈkrʌstiːz/
noun
1.
(Greek myth) a robber, who put travellers in his bed, stretching or lopping off their limbs so that they fitted it
Word Origin
C16: from Greek Prokroustēs the stretcher, from prokrouein to extend by hammering out
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Procrustes in Culture
Procrustes [(proh-krus-teez)]

A mythical Greek giant who was a thief and a murderer. He would capture travelers and tie them to an iron bed. If they were longer than the bed, he would hack off their limbs until they fit it. If they were too short, he would stretch them to the right size.

Note: A “procrustean” method is one that relentlessly tries to shape a person, an argument, or an idea to a predetermined pattern.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for Procrustes

in Greek legend, a robber dwelling somewhere in Attica-in some versions, in the neighbourhood of Eleusis. His father was said to be Poseidon. Procrustes had an iron bed (or, according to some accounts, two beds) on which he compelled his victims to lie. Here, if a victim was shorter than the bed, he stretched him by hammering or racking the body to fit. Alternatively, if the victim was longer than the bed, he cut off the legs to make the body fit the bed's length. In either event the victim died. Ultimately Procrustes was slain by his own method by the young Attic hero Theseus, who as a young man slayed robbers and monsters whom he encountered while traveling from Trozen to Athens

Learn more about Procrustes with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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