Gordian knot

(redirected from a Gordian knot)

Gordian knot

A complicated problem that can only be solved with creative or unorthodox thinking. In Greek and Roman mythology, King Gordian tied such a complex knot that only Alexander the Great was able to loosen it by cutting it with his sword. Trying to remove the gum from my daughter's hair turned into quite the Gordian knot. Ultimately, it was just easier to cut the tangled mess out of her hair. The coding problem looked like a Gordian knot until we realized we could bypass it altogether with a different approach.
See also: Gordian, knot

cut the Gordian knot, to

To get out of trouble by taking a single decisive step. According to legend, Gordius, a peasant who became king of Phrygia, dedicated his wagon to the god Jupiter and tied the yoke to a tree with such a difficult knot that no one could unfasten it. Alexander the Great was told that whoever could untie the wagon would rule all Asia, whereupon he simply cut the knot with his sword. Many writers have alluded to this myth, among them Shakespeare (“Turn him to any cause of policy, the Gordian Knot of it he will unloose”), in HenryV (1.1). It has been a cliché since about 1800 but is seldom heard today.
See also: cut, Gordian

Gordian knot

A difficult problem that can be solved by an unexpected and simple method. According to an old Greek legend, a poor peasant named Gordius appeared in the public square of Phrygia in an ox cart. Since an oracle had prophesized that the future king would ride into town in a wagon, Gordius was made ruler. In gratitude, Gordius dedicated his ox cart to Zeus and tied the cart to a pole with a highly intricate knot, whereupon an oracle foretold that whosoever untied the knot would rule all of Asia. Although many tried in vain to untie the knot, it took Alexander the Great to do so, which he did with one cut of his sword. That might not have been the method that Gordius or the oracle had in mind, but it was good enough to enable Alexander to conquer most of Asia as well as a large chunk of the rest of the known world.
See also: Gordian, knot
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.
Justice Mushir Alam and Justice Qazi Faez Isa's detailed judgement in the Faizabad sit-in case takes a sword to what may had perceived to be a Gordian knot, and cuts to the heart of the matter, laying all threads and entanglements bare.
In this action i will investigate the folding of human ubiquitin c-terminal hydrolase, Whose backbone forms a gordian knot with five crossings.
The interrelated, complex issues that have joined to create the current public health crisis of antimicrobial drug resistance constitute a Gordian knot as well.
However, the scarf, even for the fashion forward, can appear to be a Gordian knot. Fariba Soltani highlights seven ways to wear, wrap, drape, and tie a scarf.
Bridging the gap for a happier homecoming has now taken on the complexity of a Gordian knot.
Among the topics are whether the Cyprus issue has a catalyst effect or is a Gordian knot for Turkey's accession negotiations, whether the European Union and Turkey can cooperate regarding the Arab Spring and regional integration, explaining the rise of Euroscepticism among the Turkish political elite, the free movement of Turkish citizens after the Soysal judgment, and gender equality and the Kurdish issue in Turkey's accession framework.
"It's a Gordian Knot dichotomy that continues." In many ways, this piece by Euzmen is the symbol that ties together all the elements of this exhibit, which runs through April 7.
"HEALTH CARE, A GORDIAN KNOT OF COST AND ACCESS, FACES REFORM"
Houdini Brown escaped from a Gordian knot he'd unnecessarily tied himself.
This tiny country is held fast by a Gordian knot of unusual complexity, one whose many strands lead to such places as Israel, Syria, America and Iran.
He only has to be in the same room as a set of Christmas tree lights and they snarl up into a Gordian knot
MacKenzie explains that in many process-oriented organizations, "intricate patterns of effective behavior have grown around lessons of success and failure, creating a Gordian Knot of Corporate Normalcy." He goes on to point out that the problem is, "Corporate Normalcy derives from and is dedicated to past realities and past successes.
"The whole question of electronic privacy is like a Gordian knot," Casti said.
Had such tests been the basis of Bush's plan, Kress and his congressional counterparts wouldn't be wrestling, as they are now, with a Gordian knot of methodological problems.