Pyrrhic Victory

DEFINITION of 'Pyrrhic Victory'

A victory or success that comes at the expense of great losses or costs. In business, examples of such a victory could be succeeding at a hostile takeover bid or winning a lengthy and expensive lawsuit.


BREAKING DOWN 'Pyrrhic Victory'

In 2001, Microsoft won a Pyrrhic victory in its antitrust case when the Appeals Court decided the software giant was not to be broken up. However, Microsoft was still branded a monopoly and was subject to other punishment.

The expression alludes to the Greek King Pyrrhus who, after defeating the Romans in battle, stated: "If we win another such battle against the Romans, we will be completely lost."

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