American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. An exceedingly complicated problem or deadlock.
- n. An intricate knot tied by King Gordius of Phrygia and cut by Alexander the Great with his sword after hearing an oracle promise that whoever could undo it would be the next ruler of Asia.
- n. The legendary knot tied to a pole near the temple of Zeus in Gordium.
- n. by extension Any intricate and complex problem.
GNU Webster's 1913
- adj. an intricate knot tied by Gordius in the thong which connected the pole of the chariot with the yoke. An oracle having declared that he who should untie it should be master of Asia, Alexander the Great averted the ill omen of his inability to loosen it by cutting it with his sword. Hence, a
Gordian knotis an inextricable difficulty; and to cut the Gordian knotis to remove a difficulty by bold and energetic measures.
- n. an intricate knot tied by Gordius, the king of Phrygia, and cut by the sword of Alexander the Great after he heard that whoever undid it would become ruler of Asia
- n. any very difficult problem; insoluble in its own terms
- From the name of a legendary knot tied to a pole near the temple of Zeus in Gordium. It was prophesied that whoever loosed the knot would become ruler of all Asia. Alexander the Great solved the puzzle by slicing through the knot and took it as a sign of Zeus's favor. He then proceeded to conquer much of the known world. (Wiktionary)
“He had attempted to cut the Gordian knot by giving up the cleaning of his pipe, but this had resulted in the inhalation of indescribably repellent, ferociously bitter, and appallingly slimy gobbets of cold dottle.”
Captain Corelli's Mandolin
“Mariano applied to his friend Madrazo for advice as to what to do, and Madrazo simply cut the Gordian knot by paying out of his own purse three hundred dollars to secure the release of the young artist.”
Little Journeys to the Homes of Eminent Painters
“Over the aeons she had lost her power save in places like the two Comanas, one here in Cappadocia, the other north in Pontus, and in Pessinus, not far from where Alexander the Great had cut the Gordian knot with his sword.”
“The consideration of these serious difficulties leads us to the very heart of Molina's system, and reveals the real Gordian knot of the whole controversy.”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘Gordian knot’.
Terms used for and by entities with executive power
forge a coalition..., head of state, head of government, public administra..., beef up the infor..., devolution, streamline state ..., back out of sg, break a pledge, excoriate, executive committee, implement the agr... and 99 more...
broker a peace ac..., client state, deadlocked peace ..., embassy, freeze, goodwill ambassador, hinterland, interfere in dome..., intervene personally, maintain technica..., mediation, no business as usual and 670 more...
Looking for tweets for Gordian knot.