Pyrrhic victory

a victory or goal achieved at too great a cost.
Compare Cadmean victory.

1880–85; < Greek Pyrrikós; after a remark attributed by Plutarch to Pyrrhus, who declared, after a costly victory over the Romans, that another similar victory would ruin him Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
Pyrrhic victory
Also called: Cadmean victory a victory in which the victor's losses are as great as those of the defeated
[named after Pyrrhus, who defeated the Romans at Asculum in 279 bc but suffered heavy losses]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
Pyrrhic victory [(peer-ik)]

A victory that is accompanied by enormous losses and leaves the winners in as desperate shape as if they had lost. Pyrrhus was an ancient general who, after defeating the Romans, told those who wished to congratulate him, “One more such victory and Pyrrhus is undone.”

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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