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sword of Damocles

noun
1.
Damocles (def 2).
Origin
1810-1820
1810-20
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for sword of Damocles

Sword of Damocles

noun
1.
a closely impending disaster
Word Origin
see Damocles
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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Idioms and Phrases with sword of Damocles

sword of Damocles

Also, Damocles' sword . Impending disaster, as in The likelihood of lay-offs has been a sword of Damocles over the department for months . This expression alludes to the legend of Damocles, a servile courtier to King Dionysius I of Syracuse. The king, weary of Damocles' obsequious flattery, invited him to a banquet and seated him under a sword hung by a single hair, so as to point out to him the precariousness of his position. The idiom was first recorded in 1747. The same story gave rise to the expression hang by a thread
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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