AskDefine | Define pyrrhic

Dictionary Definition

pyrrhic adj
1 of or relating to a war dance of ancient Greece; "pyrrhic dance movements"
2 of or relating to or containing a metrical foot of two unstressed syllables; "pyrrhic verses"
3 of or relating to or resembling Pyrrhus or his exploits (especially his sustaining staggering losses in order to defeat the Romans); "a Pyrrhic victory"


1 a metrical unit with unstressed-unstressed syllables [syn: dibrach]
2 an ancient Greek dance imitating the motions of warfare

User Contributed Dictionary



From pyrrhichius < πυρρίχιος < πυρρίχη (war dance).


  • italbrac RP /'pɪr.ɪk/


  1. Of or characterized by pyrrhics.


Of or characterized by pyrrhics


  1. An Ancient Greek war dance.
  2. A metric foot with two short or unaccented syllables.

Related terms

Extensive Definition

A pyrrhic is a metrical foot used in formal poetry. It consists of two unaccented, short syllables. It is also known as a dibrach.
Tennyson used pyrrhics and spondees quite frequently. Here are some examples:
Be near me when my light is low,
When the blood creeps and the nerves prick
And tingle; and the heart is sick,
And all the wheels of Being slow.
-from In Memoriam.
Example above include "When the" and "and the" in the second line and "-le; and" in the third.
Pyrrhics alone are not used to construct an entire poem due to the monotonous effect.


pyrrhic in Japanese: ピリック

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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