cut/untie the Gordian knot

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cut the Gordian knot

To solve a very challenging or daunting problem decisively. The phrase likely alludes to Gordius, the king of Phrygia, who tied a knot that an oracle proclaimed would only be cut by the future ruler of Asia. Alexander the Great allegedly cut the Gordian knot in one blow. A: "Wait, Matt already solved that impossible equation?" B: "Yes! I have no idea how he did it, but he sure cut the Gordian knot."
See also: cut, Gordian, knot
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

cut the Gordian knot

If someone cuts the Gordian knot, they deal with a difficult situation in a quick, forceful and effective way. Mr Sandler cut the Gordian knot that was strangling the market. Note: Verbs such as break, untie and untangle are sometimes used instead of cut. Which country should make the first move to untie the Gordian knot? Note: Gordian knot is used to describe a problem that is very difficult to solve. The federal deficit has become the Gordian knot of Washington. He found himself tied up in a real emotional Gordian Knot. Note: According to an ancient legend, Gordius, the king of Phrygia, tied a knot that nobody could untie. It was said that if anyone untied it, they would become the next ruler of Asia. When Alexander the Great heard this, he solved the problem by cutting through the knot with a sword.
See also: cut, Gordian, knot
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

cut the Gordian knot

solve or remove a problem in a direct or forceful way, rejecting gentler or more indirect methods.
The knot referred to is that with which Gordius, king of ancient Phrygia (in Asia Minor), fastened the yoke of his wagon to the pole. Its complexity was such that it gave rise to the legend that whoever could undo it would become the ruler of Asia. When Alexander the Great passed that way en route to conquer the East he is said simply to have severed the knot with his sword.
See also: cut, Gordian, knot
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

cut/untie the ˌGordian ˈknot

solve a very difficult or complicated problem with forceful action: Will the negotiators be able to untie the Gordian knot?This expression comes from the legend in which King Gordius tied a very complicated knot and said that whoever untied it would become the ruler of Asia. Alexander the Great cut through the knot with his sword.
See also: cut, Gordian, knot
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
A small disruption from the environment might disturb the threads of a knot slightly but is extremely unlikely to change its overall knottedness--just as a breeze might make your shoelaces flutter but not untie. Thus, the topological quantum computer has a built-in defense against decoherence.
Average untied aid ratio 1995-1999 Over 90% Japan, Sweden, Switzerland 50%-90% Norway, Portugal, The Netherlands, Germany, Finland, Denmark 25%-50% Canada, Italy, Australia, United Kingdom (*), France, Austria Under 25% Belgium, Spain, United States No data Greece, Ireland Luxembourg, New Zealand (*)Recently, the United Kingdom announced that it will untie all its bilateral aid, which will bring it into the group of leading united aid donors, along with Japan, Sweden and Switzerland.
The best knot for any situation is one that: (1) holds when it is supposed to; (2) is relatively easy to untie without a knife and; (3) does not bend the rope in such a way that the rope itself is weakened.
Men who tried to infiltrate the wider world, only to be stamped out and tossed back into fields tended by tireless women who one day soon will pull their bodies upright, untie the children from their backs, slide them gently to the ground, and turn to face the world, so their *vehemence* may be known.
So I'll say it: If Dole somehow pulls it out, we could do worse than have a savvy bureaucrat with a deep sense of guilt for 15 years of public gridlock helping us untie the Gordian knots.
That is a tied flag is untied (unfurled) by giving the string a jerk to untie the knot and the flag that is already raised atop a flag mast at dawn starts fluttering.
But when you do need to untie the antenna, be sure to tie up the antenna tiedown.
Loosen the knot first, then untie, reversing the steps used to tie it.
His uncle Antonius van der Bosch told police that he asked his nephew to untie some fishing nets while he was standing ashore and the boy was in the boat, authorities said.
The Ministers agreed in Brussels on May 20 to untie EU aid "as a way to improve the efficiency of aid and to increase its impact on the fight against poverty".
It was these to whom Isaiah alluded when he spoke in the Name of the Lord: "No, this is the fast I desire: To unlock fetters of wickedne ss, and untie the cords of the yoke; to let the oppressed go free; to break off every yoke.
As ActionAid puts it, the success of this legal complaint will be crucial to galvanizing the international donor community to untie aid.
Later, their fingers tangle in intricate knots that they try to untie. In a lively group section the men, joined by the women, Parker Lutz and Juliette Mapp, shove each other around with legs like tentacles; their upper bodies are simply along for the ride.