Meaning of Damoclean sword in English:

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.