Charybdis


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between Scylla and Charybdis

Facing two equally unpleasant, dangerous, or risky alternatives, where the avoidance of one ensures encountering the harm of the other. Refers to the Greek mythological sea beasts Scylla and Charybdis, which inhabited a sea passage so narrow as to ensure a ship would be forced into the grasp of one or the other. I was between Scylla and Charybdis, for if I didn't take out another loan—and go deeper into debt—I could not pay off the debts I already owed. The police knew with certainty he had drugs in his car, so he became trapped between Scylla and Charybdis: either lie to the police, or admit that the drugs belonged to him.
See also: and, Charybdis, Scylla

between a rock and a hard place

Facing two equally unpleasant, dangerous, or risky alternatives, where the avoidance of one ensures encountering the harm of the other. I was between a rock and a hard place, for if I didn't take out another loan—and go deeper into debt—I could not pay off the debts I already owed. You were really between a rock and a hard place when you had to choose between your career and your relationship.
See also: and, hard, place, rock

between a rock and a hard place

 and between the devil and the deep blue sea
Fig. in a very difficult position; facing a hard decision. I couldn't make up my mind. I was caught between a rock and a hard place. He had a dilemma on his hands. He was clearly between the devil and the deep blue sea.
See also: and, hard, place, rock

between a rock and a hard place

Also, between the devil and the deep blue sea or Scylla and Charybdis . Between two equally difficult or unacceptable choices. For example, Trying to please both my boss and his supervisor puts me between a rock and a hard place . The rock and hard place version is the newest of these synonymous phrases, dating from the early 1900s, and alludes to being caught or crushed between two rocks. The oldest is Scylla and Charybdis, which in Homer's Odyssey signified a monster on a rock (Scylla) and a fatal whirlpool (Charybdis), between which Odysseus had to sail through a narrow passage. It was used figuratively by the Roman writer Virgil and many writers since. The devil in devil and deep blue sea, according to lexicographer Charles Earle Funk, referred to a seam around a ship's hull near the waterline, which, if a sailor was trying to caulk it in heavy seas, would cause him to fall overboard. Others disagree, however, and believe the phrase simply alludes to a choice between hellfire with the devil and drowning in deep waters.
See also: and, hard, place, rock

between a rock and a hard place

If you are between a rock and a hard place, you are in a difficult situation where you have to choose between two equally unpleasant courses of action. You're between a rock and a hard place here. If you challenge John about his decision, he's going to be annoyed but if you don't, your staff are going to hate you. Note: People often say that they are caught or stuck between a rock and a hard place. We were caught between a rock and a hard place. We could spend two months planning the operation properly and people would say we were too late, or we could start immediately and be criticized for lack of preparation. Goss finds himself stuck between a rock and a hard place. Whichever course of action he chooses, he'll lose the support of some people.
See also: and, hard, place, rock

between Scylla and Charybdis

LITERARY
If you are between Scylla and Charybdis, you have to choose between two possible courses of action, both of which seem equally bad. He's truly between Scylla and Charybdis this time, so he had better get some good advice. Note: This expression is variable. During these years, America's economy steered a remarkable course between the Scylla of inflation and the Charybdis of recession. Note: In Greek mythology, Scylla and Charybdis were monsters who lived on either side of the Straits of Messina. Scylla lived on a rock on the Italian side, and had twelve heads, with which she swallowed sailors. Charybdis lived on the coast of Sicily and swallowed the sea three times a day, creating a whirlpool.
See also: and, Charybdis, Scylla

between a rock and a hard place

in a situation where you are faced with two equally difficult or unpleasant alternatives. informal
1998 Times They are saying now, as they once said of Richard Nixon , that Bill Clinton is ‘between a rock and a hard place’.
See also: and, hard, place, rock

Scylla and Charybdis

used to refer to a situation involving two dangers in which an attempt to avoid one increases the risk from the other. literary
In classical mythology, Scylla was a female sea monster who devoured sailors when they tried to navigate the narrow channel between her and the whirlpool Charybdis. In later legends, Scylla was a dangerous rock, located on the Italian side of the Strait of Messina, a channel which separates the island of Sicily from the ‘toe’ of Italy.
See also: and, Charybdis, Scylla

(caught/stuck) between a ˌrock and a ˈhard place

in a situation where you have to choose between two things, both of which are unpleasant: The workers now feel that they are caught between a rock and a hard place. They don’t agree with the new terms and conditions, but if they go on strike they may lose their jobs altogether.
See also: and, hard, place, rock

between a rock and a hard place

mod. in a very difficult position; facing a hard decision. I’m between a rock and a hard place. I don’t know what to do.
See also: and, hard, place, rock

between a rock and a hard place

Confronted with equally unpleasant alternatives and few or no opportunities to evade or circumvent them.
See also: and, hard, place, rock

between Scylla and Charybdis

In a position where avoidance of one danger exposes one to another danger.
See also: and, Charybdis, Scylla

between Scylla and Charybdis

Facing the dilemma of two dangerous positions. Homer's Odyssey tells us about two sea monsters that occupied opposite banks of the Strait of Messina between the island of Sicily and mainland Italy. Scylla had six heads that ate sailors who passed too close. Charybdis expelled sea water to create whirlpools that capsized ships that sailed too close. Faced with that option, Odysseus chose to sail toward Scylla and lose only a few crew members rather than risk Charybdis's whirlpool capsizing the ship and drowning everyone (including himself ). As classical education waned and fewer and fewer people understood who Scylla and Charybdis were (hot-house plants? sexually transmitted diseases?), the phrase was replaced by the similar but far less esoteric “between the devil and the deep blue sea.”
See also: and, Charybdis, Scylla
References in periodicals archive ?
Inaction is a morally worse option than either facing the Scylla of our past or the Charybdis of our future.
That year, during a tour of the northeast coast aboard HMS Charybdis (not the ill-fated earlier vessel, but a cruiser built in 1893), the governor of Newfoundland, Sir Henry MacCallum, undertook to engage 300 fishermen in the Royal Naval Reserve.
OXFORD: Just when it seemed that America's "Homeland Security state" could not get more surreal, the United States Transportation Security Administration has rolled out a costly Scylla and Charybdis at major airports: either you accept dangerous doses of radiation and high-resolution imaging of your naked body, or, worried about the health risks of cumulative radiation, you opt out of the new full-body x-ray machines (rapidly dubbed "porno-scanners").
During the process of planning this project, we sometimes felt as though we were navigating between Scylla and Charybdis.
Defining the main risk between Scylla and Charybdis is never easy.
On the other hand, Pakistan was between Scylla and Charybdis whether to stand with the Taliban or support America which was supposed to be its product.
Perhaps that is the fate of all such guides, doomed to sail between the Scylla of hectoring nationalism and the Charybdis of milquetoasty ingratiation.
But it doesn't mean that marketers are caught between Scylla and Charybdis.
That art of avoiding careerism and dogmatism is the Scylla and Charybdis of left of centre parties - dogmatism on the left and careerism on the right.
October saw Daring take a short break from her sea schedule to visit the island of Guernsey and take part in her annual commemoration of thewartime sinking of HM Ships Charybdis and Limborne at the hands of German U-boats.
The Obama administration is caught between two monsters: the Scylla of painful structural readjustment and the Charybdis of rising inflation.
The other irresistible monster, Charybdis, lurked under a fig tree a bowshot away on the opposite shore and was fatal to shipping.
To sail between the old regime's Scylla of anti-religious tyranny and the new state's pragmatic and non-religious Charybdis of religious bribery, is truly a task for a real Sheppard.
As for how it intervenes in these our troubled times, I cannot help but reflect upon the Scylla and Charybdis described by Machiavelli--though he is not cited once by Hutson, in a very curious omission from her otherwise excellent analyses of early-modern culture.