Definition of Damocles noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

 

Damocles

 noun
noun
BrE BrE//ˈdæməkliːz//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ˈdæməkliːz//
 
 
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Idioms
a/the sword of Damocles
 
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(literary) a bad or unpleasant thing that might happen to you at any time and that makes you feel worried or frightened From the legend in which Damocles had to sit at a meal at the court of Dionysius with a sword hanging by a single hair above his head. He had praised Dionysius’ happiness, and Dionysius wanted him to understand how quickly happiness can be lost.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: Damocles