Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Producing or designed to produce strict conformity by ruthless or arbitrary means.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to Procrustes, or the mode of torture practiced by him; producing conformity by violent means

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Of, pertaining to, or resembling Procrustes, a robber of ancient Greece, who, according to the tradition, tortured his victims by placing them on a certain bed, and stretching them or lopping off their legs to adapt the body to its length; resembling this mode of torture.
  • Hence Reducing by violence to strict conformity to a measure or model; producing uniformity by deforming or injurious force or by mutilation.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. of or relating to the mythical giant Procrustes or the mode of torture practiced by him

Etymologies

After Procrustes, a mythical Greek giant who stretched or shortened captives to make them fit his beds, from Latin Procrustēs, from Greek Prokroustēs, from prokrouein, hammer out, to stretch out : pro-, forth; see pro-2 + krouein, to beat.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • I used the term "Procrustean" very specifically to characterize the incorporation of soldiers over sixteen into the provisions of the convention.

    Children at War

  • This effect could be called "Procrustean" after the Greek mythical tale of Procrustes, but for the slightly less intellectual like me , could be called the climate science version of Monty Python’s "Summarize Proust competition"

    Science and Nature: Under fire for 'censorship' « Climate Audit

  • Yeah, you can get them to match if you approach the metaphor in a Procrustean way, cutting off most of the details and stretching the remaining ones.

    Armageddon married in the morning «

  • In plain English, if some countries do well (and/or pursue sound policies) while others do poorly (and/or pursue unsound policies), locking them into a single currency will squeeze some countries like an increasingly uncomfortable Procrustean bed.

    The Euro Zone's German Crisis

  • The problem is that the story attempts to fit earnings and share prices into a Procrustean bed of conventional wisdom, Wall Street division.

    Robert Teitelman: Capital Versus Talent in Investment Banking

  • Over time, the media would grow more Procrustean still.

    Deconstructing Obama

  • One big reason is the government's own Procrustean attempt to keep market-moving information legally bottled up in the name of a "level playing field."

    Temporary Sanity in Insider-Trading Law

  • Despite this discouraging beginning, our story will end well: the study of the microbial world at the beginning of the 21st century is liberating biology from the Procrustean bed of dogma on which it has been cast for so long, and a new understanding of evolution as a process is already beginning to form, in a manner that will eventually supersede the scientifically stultifying language-culture of the 20th century.

    2009 September - Telic Thoughts

  • Too much of the rest of what we write is murdered by being forced into the Procrustean bed of the 700-word op-ed: a space too small to make any but the most pathetic and oversimplified excuse for an argument.

    Where is the Failure?, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

  • Is the problem the "Procrustean Bed of the 700-word op-ed?"

    Where is the Failure?, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

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