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Word of the Day
Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Definitions for Pyrrhic victory

  1. A victory achieved at great or excessive cost; a ruinous victory.

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Citations for Pyrrhic victory
Technically it was a victory for the British, who attacked the patriot fortifications -- but a Pyrrhic victory if ever there was: out of 2,200 British soldiers 1,034 were killed or wounded, including one in nine of all the officers the British lost in the whole war. Geoffrey Wheatcroft, The Atlantic
Ferguson argued that British involvement in World War I was unnecessary, far too costly in lives and money for any advantage gained, and a Pyrrhic victory that in many ways contributed to the end of the Empire. David Harsanyi, National Review
Origin of Pyrrhic victory
A Pyrrhic victory is so called after the Greek king Pyrrhus, who, after suffering heavy losses in defeating the Romans in 279 B.C., said to those sent to congratulate him, "Another such victory over the Romans and we are undone."