Definitions

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

  • n. An intricate structure of interconnecting passages through which it is difficult to find one's way; a maze.
  • n. Greek Mythology The maze in which the Minotaur was confined.
  • n. Something highly intricate or convoluted in character, composition, or construction: a labyrinth of rules and regulations.
  • n. Anatomy A group of complex interconnecting anatomical cavities.
  • n. Anatomy See inner ear.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A maze, especially underground or covered.
  • n. Part of the inner ear.
  • n. Anything complicated and confusing, like a maze.
  • v. To enclose in a labyrinth, or as though in a labyrinth.
  • v. To arrange in the form of a labyrinth.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An edifice or place full of intricate passageways which render it difficult to find the way from the interior to the entrance.
  • n. Any intricate or involved inclosure; especially, an ornamental maze or inclosure in a park or garden, having high hedges separating confusingly convoluted passages.
  • n. Any object or arrangement of an intricate or involved form, or having a very complicated nature.
  • n. An inextricable or bewildering difficulty.
  • n. The internal ear. See Note under Ear.
  • n. A series of canals through which a stream of water is directed for suspending, carrying off, and depositing at different distances, the ground ore of a metal.
  • n. A pattern or design representing a maze, -- often inlaid in the tiled floor of a church, etc.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To shut up, inclose, or entangle in or as in a maze or labyrinth.
  • n. An intricate combination of passages running into one another from different directions, in which it is difficult or impossible to find the way from point to point, or to reach the place of exit from the interior, without a clue or guide; a maze.
  • n.
  • n. Any confused complication of objects, lines, ideas, etc.; any thing or subject characterized by intricate turnings or windings; a perplexity.
  • n. The internal ear; the essential organ of hearing.
  • n. In ornithology, same as tympanum, 2
  • n. .—5. In mining, an apparatus used in concentrating or dressing slimes.
  • n. A long chamber filled with deflectors or diaphragms placed alternately, used to cool and condense the fumes of mercury, other vapors, or smoke.

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

  • n. a complex system of interconnecting cavities; concerned with hearing and equilibrium
  • n. complex system of paths or tunnels in which it is easy to get lost

Etymologies

Middle English laberinthe, from Latin labyrinthus, from Greek laburinthos; possibly akin to labrus, double-headed axe, of Lydian origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin labyrinthus, from Ancient Greek λαβύρινθος (labýrinthos) 'maze', possibly from an Anatolian language (compare Lydian labrys 'double-edged axe' and -inthos typical of Anatolian placenames), although the actual etymology of labyrinth is still a matter of conjecture. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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Comments

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  • I was recently happy to discover that there are a few of these in the bay area where I live! Must plan a day of labyrinth walking soon.

    labyrinth at Grace Cathedral Church
    labyrinths at Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve

    March 6, 2008

  • 'How will I ever get out of this labyrinth?' reportedly Simon Bolivar's last words.

    February 19, 2008

  • This word always makes me think of the minotaur.

    And the ridiculous/excellent movie - David Bowie in tights anyone?

    July 5, 2007