Meaning of Damoclean in English:


Pronunciation /ˌdaməˈkliːən/


  • Threatening and precarious.

    ‘the parties charged are left in the Damoclean situation of never knowing when an old charge may spring back to life’
    • ‘Something perhaps a hundred times worse still hangs over us, but not the Damoclean existential threat the real zealots want.’
    • ‘The financial markets have roared back to only mirror the same Damoclean state that existed just before the 2008 crash.’
    • ‘But with Brussels demanding action against the disease and the Damoclean threat of a ban on exports still suspended above the livestock sector, the demand for action is ever more urgent.’
    • ‘The narrow 'Yes' side defeat left a Damoclean uncertainty about independence and its consequences hanging over the economy of Quebec for several years.’
    • ‘The root causes of the problem lie in the decision to build a new stadium and the Damoclean debt hanging over the club as a result.’


    Damoclean sword
    • Used to refer to an extremely precarious and threatening situation.

      ‘we forget that just above our heads hangs the Damoclean sword of our own design’
      • ‘By removing this Damoclean sword hanging over the modern financial system, policymakers could score an epic financial stability victory.’
      • ‘Tibet and the Himalayas are increasingly living under the Damoclean sword of climate change impacts.’
      • ‘The development of a new influenza pandemic continues to threaten mankind as a Damoclean sword.’
      • ‘Almost all market participants seem to be deferring investment decisions as the eurozone Damoclean Sword hangs high over everyone.’
      • ‘I ask if it's something of a Damoclean sword, being "the greatest living crime writer"; that can't be too relaxing, can it?’


      Late 19th century from the legendary courtier Damocles, who was seated at a banquet with a sword hung by a single hair over his head.