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A.Word.A.Daywith Anu Garg
sword of Damocles
PRONUNCIATION:(sord uhv DAM-uh-kleez)
MEANING:noun: An ever-present threat; an impending disaster.
ETYMOLOGY:After Damocles of Greek legend. Damocles was a courtier who flattered the ruler Dionysius, tyrant of Syracuse, to excess. The fulsome praise so annoyed the king that he decided to teach him a lesson. He held a banquet in honor of Damocles but when Damocles saw the sword hanging by a single horse-hair over his head, he lost all taste for the lavish feast. He realized that even those who appear to enjoy great fortune face fears and worries. By the way, the word impending literally means hanging over.
USAGE:"Roth said, 'The threat of an audit ... looms like the sword of Damocles over the heads of taxpayers.'"
IRS Chief Wants to Balance Service, Enforcement; The Advocate (Stamford, Connecticut); Feb 13, 2009.
See more usage examples of sword of Damocles in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product. -Eleanor Roosevelt, diplomat and author (1884-1962)