The Closing Word: Procrustean

Image of Closing Word LogoThis week we continue our vocabulary-building series, “The Closing Word.” Each week we provide a new word to help build your vocabulary and show you an example of how to use it.

This week’s closing word:


Pronounced: (pro-CRUS-tee-in)

1. (especially of a framework or system) enforcing uniformity or conformity without regard to natural variation or individuality

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

From “The word Procrustean is perfect for describing a person or institution that forces people to conform. Tyrannical governments can be Procrustean, as can certain clubs and organizations. This marvelous adjective characterizing pointless or ruthless demand for conformity owes its meaning to a son of the Greek god Poseidon: Procrustes, who stretched his guests or cut off their legs in order to make them fit his bed.”

“Sometimes the Procrustean rules of the mortgage application process drive first-time buyers right back to the rental market.”

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