Sword of Damocles

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Related to Sword of Damocles: Gordian knot

Sword of Damocles

a closely impending disaster
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Sword of Damocles


a metaphorical expression for a constantly threatening danger during apparent well-being. According to the ancient Greek legend, the Syracuse tyrant Dionysius the Elder (late fifth to fourth century B.C.) offered his throne for one day to his favorite, Damocles, who considered Dionysius the happiest of mortals. Thinking himself the happiest of men at a feast in his honor, Damocles suddenly noticed a naked sword suspended above his head by a single horse-hair, and he understood the illusory nature of happiness.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

sword of Damocles

signifies impending peril; blade suspended over banqueter by a hair. [Gk. Myth.: Brewer Dictionary, 297]
See: Danger
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The sword of Damocles might fall to any side at a critical moment which would easily end up in the great modern world we have created for ourselves.
What we need are projects jobs and taxes to build and Bryan How can Carwyn traipse around the world trying to persuade investors that Wales is a good place to invest in with the Circuit of Wales saga hanging like the sword of Damocles over his head?
The "deal" with the EU then ceases to loom large like a Sword of Damocles and our "leaders" need not be so pathetically fearful.
More importantly, as a result of melting of glaciers due to global warming, a sword of Damocles remains hanging over our heads in the shape of floods.
Honor killing has been used as a sword of damocles against the womenfolk in some parts of our society where women live under constant fear, he added.
Their music changed my life completely." He was only 19 then and already had a rock band named ' Sword of Damocles' when he decided to pack his bags and leave Israel to learn about Indian music.
Norzagaray, Bulacan -- Built in 1967, the aging Angat Dam nestling along the West Valley fault line in the mountains of Norzagaray will soon be rehabilitated and no longer be dubbed as the proverbial "Sword of Damocles" hanging over the heads of the people of Bulacan.
It's been hanging over them like the sword of Damocles ever since, and Mackay even had to issue a grovelling sword of Damocles since, and Follow Andy Gilpin Twitter @gilpin_or email sportsdesk@ even had to issue a dailypost.
The biggest sword of Damocles over European equities is the risk of Russian military intervention in Ukraine to save the rebels of the self-styled ethnic Russian Donetsk People's Republic.
In addition to the green light from the REGI committee, another sword of Damocles is hanging over this compromise and the agreement on the multiannual financial framework (MFF) in general: the budget for the European Social Fund.
One is exemplified by the legend of the sword of Damocles. The other comes from an aphorism attributed to Mahatma Gandhi.
They have the Sword of Damocles hanging over their heads.

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