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

 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

having only two very unpleasant choices between the devil and the deep blue sea Schools for problem kids are between a rock and a hard place - they can be sued if children run away and get hurt, but have no power to keep the door locked.
See also: and, hard, place, rock

between a rock and a hard place

if you are between a rock and a hard place, you have to make a difficult decision between two things that are equally unpleasant I'm caught between a rock and a hard place. If I go with Isobel, it'll be much more expensive and if I go with Julie, Isobel probably won't speak to me again.
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

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.