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 (pĭr′əs) c. 319-272 bc.
King of Epirus (306-302 and 297-272) who defeated the Romans at Heraclea (280) and Asculum (279) despite his own staggering losses.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. (Biography) 319–272 bc, king of Epirus (306–272). He invaded Italy but was ultimately defeated by the Romans (275 bc)
2. (Classical Myth & Legend) another name for Neoptolemus
ˈPyrrhic adj
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈpɪr əs)

c318–272 B.C., king of Epirus c300–272.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.Pyrrhus - king of EpirusPyrrhus - king of Epirus; defeated the Romans in two battles in spite of staggering losses (319-272 BC)
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


[ˈpɪrəs] NPirro
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005
References in classic literature ?
King Pyrrhus was at dinner at an ale-house bordering on the theatre, when he was summoned to go on the stage.
When these things are remembered no one will marvel at the ease with which Alexander held the Empire of Asia, or at the difficulties which others have had to keep an acquisition, such as Pyrrhus and many more; this is not occasioned by the little or abundance of ability in the conqueror, but by the want of uniformity in the subject state.
In Pierces Supererogation, Harvey ironically compares Nashe's 'Orient witt' to 'the renowned achates of king Pyrrhus, that is, the tabernacle or chauncell of the Muses, Apollo sitting in the midst, and playing vpon his Iuory harpe most enchauntingly' (Aa2v).
"Nestor," the second episode of Ulysses, begins in the middle of Stephen's history lecture on Pyrrhus (319/18-272 BCE), the king of Epirus whose battles, though considered victories, were won with casualties so great that the gains achieved seemed of questionable value (Joyce 1986, 20).
One of the prominent rulers in the Greek world at the time was Pyrrhus, the king of Epirus and a distant relative of Alexander.
Could members of the public be excused for asking 'what price justice' whilst marvelling at a victory even Pyrrhus himself may have been proud of?
Aux vers 107 a 140 du premier livre de la Franciade, en effet, Jupiter raconte comment il a derobe le jeune Astyanax a la furie de Pyrrhus, lui substituant une "image feint" (133) que l'agresseur porta aussitot au sommet d'une haute tour et lanca "pie contre-mont au travers de la rue / A chef froisse" (138-39).
"Nestor" opens on a note of historical decorum when Cochrane, one of Stephen's students, responds correctly with "Tarentum" (the query being, what city sent Pyrrhus?); but the episode quickly devolves into a pedagogical farce.
This happened in the battle of Asculum in 279 BC when Greek King Pyrrhus defeated a Roman army in a pitched battle at a cost of more than one third of his army.
That general was Pyrrhus and we now call these situations--apparent victories that cost so much they're not sustainable--Pyrrhic victories.
The sorrowful: "Pyrrhus to his colleague Chius: I grieve because I hear you have died; and so farewell."