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[kuh-rib-dis] /kəˈrɪb dɪs/
a whirlpool in the Strait of Messina off the NE coast of Sicily.
Modern name Galofalo, Garofalo.
Classical Mythology. a daughter of Gaea and Poseidon, a monster mentioned in Homer and later identified with the whirlpool Charybdis.
Compare Scylla (def 2).
Related forms
Charybdian, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for Charybdis
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • What a fatality, that you have no better an option—either a Scylla or a Charybdis.

    Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • The passage between Scylla and Charybdis is often a wide one.

    The Physical Life of Woman: Dr. George H Napheys
  • All night long I was tossed on the waves, and at dawn I drew near to Charybdis.

  • Charybdis could not take him, on account of a saving germ in him still; she has to let him pass.

    Homer's Odyssey Denton J. Snider
  • We, and the new faith with us, are between Scylla and Charybdis.

    Privy Seal Ford Madox Ford
  • But it is perhaps better for avoiding the Charybdis of literalness.

  • It seemed sailing 'twixt Scylla and Charybdis, but it was worth trying.

  • To-day another steamer was chased by the "Charybdis" but she gave us the slip.

    The Red Watch J. A. Currie
  • Yes; and rather easy in avoiding Scylla to fall into Charybdis.

    The Opened Shutters

    Clara Louise Burnham
British Dictionary definitions for Charybdis


a ship-devouring monster in classical mythology, identified with a whirlpool off the north coast of Sicily, lying opposite Scylla on the Italian coast Compare Scylla
Derived Forms
Charybdian, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for Charybdis

whirlpool off the coast of Sicily, from Latinized form of Greek Kharybdis, of unknown origin. Cf. Scylla.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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