Cadmean victory


: a victory obtained only at great or ruinous cost to the victor compare pyrrhic victory

Word History


translation of Greek Kadmeia nikē; from the mutual slaughter of all but five of the armed men who sprang from dragon's teeth sown by Cadmus

First Known Use

1603, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Cadmean victory was in 1603

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

Dictionary Entries Near Cadmean victory

Cite this Entry

“Cadmean victory.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Oct. 2023.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!