Definition of Gordian knot noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


Gordian knot

BrE BrE//ˌɡɔːdiən ˈnɒt//
; NAmE NAmE//ˌɡɔːrdiən ˈnɑːt//
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a very difficult or impossible task or problem to cut/untie the Gordian knot (= to solve a problem by taking action) Word Originmid 16th cent.: from the legend that Gordius, king of Gordium in Persia, tied an intricate knot and prophesied that whoever untied it would become the ruler of Asia. It was cut through with a sword by the Greek leader Alexander the Great.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: Gordian knot