Definitions

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

  • n. Greek Mythology A female sea monster who lived in a cave opposite Charybdis and devoured sailors.
  • idiom between Scylla and Charybdis In a position where avoidance of one danger exposes one to another danger.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • proper n. A dangerous rock on the Italian coast opposite the whirlpool Charybdis on the coast of Sicily. The passage between Scylla and Charybdis was formerly considered perilous; hence, the saying between Scylla and Charybdis signifies a great peril on either hand.
  • proper n. A personification of the above rock as a ravenous monster.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A dangerous rock on the Italian coast opposite the whirpool Charybdis on the coast of Sicily, -- both personified in classical literature as ravenous monsters. The passage between them was formerly considered perilous; hence, the saying “Between Scylla and Charybdis,” signifying a great peril on either hand.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A dangerous rock on the Italian side of the Strait of Messina, between Italy and Sicily, abode of a legendary monster Scylla.

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

  • n. (Greek mythology) a sea nymph transformed into a sea monster who lived on one side of a narrow strait; drowned and devoured sailors who tried to escape Charybdis (a whirlpool) on the other side of the strait

Etymologies

From Ancient Greek Σκύλλα. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Without a word Scylla did as she was told, and in a few seconds was half kneeling, half lying on the ground.

    Southern Stories Retold from St. Nicholas

  • Pliny does not name the prostitute; the Restoration playwright Nathaniel Richards calls her Scylla in The Tragedy of Messalina, Empress of Rome, published in 1640, and Robert Graves in his novel Claudius the God also identified the prostitute as Scylla.

    Archive 2009-06-14

  • It was called Scylla and it was located walking distance from my house in a converted Bucktown cottage.

    "Top Chef" Sizzles in Chicago for Season Four

  • Being a son of the wilderness, Owen Dugdale had probably never heard of the kindred terrors that used to lie in wait for the bold mariners of ancient Greece -- the rock and the whirlpool known as Scylla and

    Canoe Mates in Canada Three Boys Afloat on the Saskatchewan

  • Michael And Whistler still try and take down the company, by breaking in to their office and stealing a memory chip called Scylla, this chip contains all the companies information and will provide much needed evidence to destroy the company.

    eTV Reviewer

  • Gretchen, Whistler and Mahone are working together to ascertain a super secret card called Scylla that serves as the little black book for the Company.

    Give Me My Remote

  • This design job is best thought of in a model-building context in which the validity of rank and the inherent tendency to abuse it are both recognized, and it is everyone's job to steer the ship of state between the six-headed monster of "Scylla" (wimpy ranklessness) and the whirlpool of "Charybdis" (self-aggrandizing rank).

    Robert Fuller: Bridging Left and Right: A Foundation for Transpartisan Politics

  • "Scylla," he was equally sure to find a "Charybdis" at the other.

    History of Kershaw's Brigade

  • Cloanthus, ancestor of the Cluentii, wins with the "Scylla" (141-342).

    The Aeneid of Virgil Translated into English Verse by E. Fairfax Taylor

  • Mrs. Alwynn bored her intensely; but she sat on and on in the hope of Ruth's return, who had gone out, Mrs. Alwynn agreeing with every remark she made, and treating her with that pleased deference of manner which some middle-class people, not otherwise vulgar, invariably drop into in the presence of rank; a Scylla which is only one degree better than the Charybdis of would-be ease of manner into which others fall.

    The Danvers Jewels, and Sir Charles Danvers

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.