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

cut the Gordian knot

LITERARY
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

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

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
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.
Divorced Mark, 32, of Swindon, Wilts, said: "Most people want to untie the knot as painlessly, quickly and cheaply as possible.
They were able to untie themselves and call us,'' said Deputy Dave Miklos of the Palmdale sheriff's station.
It took the victims nearly 20 minutes to untie themselves before they were able to notify deputies.
As ActionAid puts it, the success of this legal complaint will be crucial to galvanizing the international donor community to untie aid.
Efforts to untie aid should not concentrate exclusively on the liberalization of aid procurement.
The Commission says it will now set about implementing the recommendation, but it does not want to sacrifice the present approach which enables it to untie a much higher proportion that the DAC average.
Q How has the aid procurement community reacted to efforts to untie aid?
The UK and the Netherlands are strongly in favour, and have already taken steps to untie their own bilateral aid.
The Commission proposal will untie aid within regions, in line with its support for regional integration, but not between continents.
It took them half an hour to untie themselves,'' Dawson said of the residents.