Damocles Look up Damocles at Dictionary.com
courtier of Dionysius I, tyrant of Syracuse; his name in Greek means literally "fame of the people," from demos, damos "people" (see demotic) + -kles "fame," a common ending in Greek proper names, related to kleos "rumor, report, news; good report, fame, glory," from PIE *klew-yo-, suffixed form of root *kleu- "to hear." To teach Damocles how a tyrant lives, Dionysius seated him at a banquet with a sword suspended above his head by a single hair.