adjective, often capitalized
pro·​crus·​te·​an | \ prə-ˈkrə-stē-ən How to pronounce procrustean (audio) , prō- \

Definition of procrustean

1 : of, relating to, or typical of Procrustes
2 : marked by arbitrary often ruthless disregard of individual differences or special circumstances

Did you know?

Procrustes was one of many villains defeated by the Greek hero Theseus. According to Greek mythology, Procrustes was a robber who killed his victims in a most cruel and unusual way. He made them lie on an iron bed and would force them to fit the bed by cutting off the parts that hung off the ends or by stretching those people who were too short. Something Procrustean, therefore, takes no account of individual differences but cruelly and mercilessly makes everything the same. And a "procrustean bed" is a scheme or pattern into which someone or something is arbitrarily forced.

Examples of procrustean in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Everything made sense, and the procrustean constraints of gender fell away. Laura Hudson, Wired, 16 Nov. 2021 What was really at issue were European America’s procrustean racial ideas and policies. Damion Searls, Harper's magazine, 10 May 2019 Decades later, the discrete litmus tests each party imposes on judicial nominees—and particularly those imposed by the Federalist Society–enamored Republican Party—have evolved into a nearly procrustean template. Peter M. Shane, Slate Magazine, 5 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'procrustean.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of procrustean

1647, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for procrustean

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The first known use of procrustean was in 1647

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procrustean bed

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Cite this Entry

“Procrustean.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2022.

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