Gordian knot

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Gor·di·an knot

 (gôr′dē-ən)
n.
1. An exceedingly complicated problem or deadlock.
2. 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.

Gordian knot

(ˈɡɔːdɪən)
n
1. (Classical Myth & Legend) (in Greek legend) a complicated knot, tied by King Gordius of Phrygia, that Alexander the Great cut with a sword
2. a complicated and intricate problem (esp in the phrase cut the Gordian knot)

Gor′di•an knot′

(ˈgɔr di ən)
n.
1. a knot tied by Gordius, a legendary king of Phrygia, that, according to a prophecy, was to be undone only by the person who would rule Asia: Alexander the Great, not able to untie the knot, is said to have cut it with his sword.
2. an intricate, seemingly insoluble problem.
Idioms:
cut the Gordian knot, to solve a problem boldly and decisively.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.Gordian knot - any very difficult problem; insoluble in its own terms
problem - a question raised for consideration or solution; "our homework consisted of ten problems to solve"
2.Gordian knot - 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
knot - any of various fastenings formed by looping and tying a rope (or cord) upon itself or to another rope or to another object
Translations
gordický uzel
Gordischer Knoten
węzeł gordyjski
References in classic literature ?
This view cuts the Gordian knot of the dispersal of the same species to the most distant points, and removes many a difficulty: but to the best of any judgment we are not authorized in admitting such enormous geographical changes within the period of existing species.
In a word, this book cuts the Gordian knot that obscured the first half of Mexico's nineteenth century.
Beddow cuts the Gordian knot by declaring the allegory a failure and finding the novel's success in its realist portrayal of German history in which Leverkuhn and Zeitblom are representative, not allegorical, Germans.