Cadmean victory

a victory attained at as great a loss to the victor as to the vanquished.
Compare Pyrrhic victory.

1595–1605 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
Cadmean victory (ˈkædmɪən)
another name for Pyrrhic victory

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

Cadmean victory
c.1600, from Gk. Kadmeia nike "victory involving one's own ruin" [Liddell & Scott], from Cadmus (Gk. Kadmos), legendary founder of Thebes in Boeotia and bringer of the alphabet to Greece. Probably a reference to the story of Cadmus and the "Sown-Men," who fought each other till only a handful were left
alive. Cf. Pyrrhic (1).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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