Cad*me"an (?), a. [L. Cadmeus, Gr. , from (L. Cadmus), which name perhaps means lit. a man from the East; cf. Heb. qedem east.]

Of or pertaining to Cadmus, a fabulous prince of Thebes, who was said to have introduced into Greece the sixteen simple letters of the alphabet -- alpha, beta, gamma, delta, epsilon, iota, kappa, lambda, mu, nu, omicron, pi, rho, sigma, tau, upsilon. These are called Cadmean letters.

Cadmean victory, a victory that damages the victors as much as the vanquished; probably referring to the battle in which the soldiers who sprang from the dragon's teeth sown by Cadmus slew each other -- Pyhrric victory?

 

© Webster 1913.

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