Definition of Gordian knot in English:

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Gordian knot

Pronunciation: /ˈɡɔːdɪən/


An extremely difficult or involved problem.
Example sentences
  • However, the overall intent and effect of the play was one of a happy lark through the Gordian knot of contemporary socio-political problems and out to a happy ending.
  • It's just that sometimes when the red cloud descends, the instantaneous, irrevocable solution is irresistibly appealing, as Alexander the Great proved by hacking through the Gordian knot.
  • Life conditions and life strategies are as tightly entwined as the Gordian knot.


cut the Gordian knot

Solve or remove a problem in a direct or forceful way, rejecting gentler or more indirect methods: Kirk may cut the Gordian knot by booting me out
More example sentences
  • I'm trying to devise some kind of way by which we can cut the Gordian knot… without going through the bureaucracy.
  • So why not end this piecemeal approach - and cut the Gordian knot by granting citizenship to all Japan-born Koreans?
  • We haven't been particularly skilled at that, and perhaps no foreign sword could cut the Gordian knot of an old, stubborn culture.


Mid 16th century: from the legend that Gordius, king of Gordium, tied an intricate knot and prophesied that whoever untied it would become the ruler of Asia. It was cut through with a sword by Alexander the Great.

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