Gordian knot

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Related to Gordian knots: cutting the Gordian knot

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 ?
The companionship of one's wife is no article of merchandise, that, after it has been bought, may be returned, or bartered, or changed; for it is an inseparable accident that lasts as long as life lasts; it is a noose that, once you put it round your neck, turns into a Gordian knot, which, if the scythe of Death does not cut it, there is no untying.
It was she who invented the short cut, who severed the Gordian knot. It is not supposed to be the nature of women to rise as a general thing to the largest and most liberal view--I mean of a practical scheme; but it has struck me that they sometimes throw off a bold conception-- such as a man would not have risen to--with singular serenity.
How to extend the service and at the same time cheapen it to small users--that was the Gordian knot; and the man who unquestionably did most to untie it was Edward J.
So far, on the contrary, that is the very Gordian knot. But, my friend, with a man like you, good, generous, and devoted, the confession must be bravely made.