Damocles

Damocles

[dam-uh-kleez]
noun
1.
a flatterer who, having extolled the happiness of Dionysius, tyrant of Syracuse, was seated at a banquet with a sword suspended over his head by a single hair to show him the perilous nature of that happiness.
Idioms
2.
sword of Damocles, any situation threatening imminent harm or disaster.

Damoclean [dam-uh-klee-uhn] , adjective
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World English Dictionary
Damocles (ˈdæməˌkliːz)
 
n
classical myth See also Sword of Damocles a sycophant forced by Dionysius, tyrant of Syracuse, to sit under a sword suspended by a hair to demonstrate that being a king was not the happy state Damocles had said it was
 
Damo'clean
 
adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

Damocles
courtier of Dionysius I, tyrant of Syracuse; his name in Gk. means lit. "fame of the people," from demos, damos "people" (see demotic) + -kles "fame," a common ending in Gk. proper names (e.g. Sophocles,
Pericles), from PIE *klew-es, from base *kleu- "to hear" (see listen). To teach Damocles how a tyrant lives, Dionysius seated him at a banquet with a sword suspended above his head by a single hair.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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