- an intricate combination of paths or passages in which it is difficult to find one's way or to reach the exit.
- a maze of paths bordered by high hedges, as in a park or garden, for the amusement of those who search for a way out.
- a complicated or tortuous arrangement, as of streets or buildings.
- any confusingly intricate state of things or events; a bewildering complex: His papers were lost in an hellish bureaucratic labyrinth. After the death of her daughter, she wandered in a labyrinth of sorrow for what seemed like a decade.
- (initial capital letter) Classical Mythology. a vast maze built in Crete by Daedalus, at the command of King Minos, to house the Minotaur.
- the internal ear, consisting of a bony portion (bony labyrinth) and a membranous portion (membranous labyrinth).
- the aggregate of air chambers in the ethmoid bone, between the eye and the upper part of the nose.
- a mazelike pattern inlaid in the pavement of a church.
- Also called acoustic labyrinth, acoustical labyrinth. Audio. a loudspeaker enclosure with air chambers at the rear for absorbing sound waves radiating in one direction so as to prevent their interference with waves radiated in another direction.
Origin of labyrinth
Examples from the Web for labyrinth
As Fox explains in Making Time, a labyrinth of aging pipelines and forgotten wells crisscrosses the city.The Fiery Underground Oil Pit Eating L.A.
December 6, 2014
As Margalit Fox says at the outset of The Riddle of the Labyrinth, the story of Linear B is well known.Who Actually Cracked Linear B, the Ancient Code of the Mysterious Knossos Labyrinth?
May 17, 2013
This is wishful thinking: a plunge into the labyrinth with no thread to lead them back out.After the Queen’s Jubilee, a Sobering Summer
June 8, 2012
As it has come down to us “on the borders of pottery and textiles, the meander resembles a maze or labyrinth.”This Week’s Hot Reads: April 9, 2012
Nicholas Mancusi, Malcolm Jones
April 9, 2012
But that would be to travel quite a labyrinth of mental associations.Obama’s Speech Took Ideas From the GOP and Rhetoric From Madison Avenue
January 28, 2012
All this year's work, then, has been the threading of the labyrinth.Bride of the Mistletoe
James Lane Allen
I wished I had never entered the labyrinth which was leading me, I knew not whither.The Room in the Dragon Volant
J. Sheridan LeFanu
To the southeast of it was a section known as the Labyrinth.
These little chambers are surrounded by a labyrinth of passages.The Industries of Animals
To attempt to find their way through the labyrinth was folly.
- a mazelike network of tunnels, chambers, or paths, either natural or man-madeCompare maze (def. 1)
- any complex or confusing system of streets, passages, etc
- a complex or intricate situation
- any system of interconnecting cavities, esp those comprising the internal ear
- another name for internal ear
- electronics an enclosure behind a high-performance loudspeaker, consisting of a series of air chambers designed to absorb unwanted sound waves
- Greek myth a huge maze constructed for King Minos in Crete by Daedalus to contain the Minotaur
Word Origin and History for labyrinth
c.1400, laberynthe (late 14c. in Latinate form laborintus) "labyrinth, maze," figuratively "bewildering arguments," from Latin labyrinthus, from Greek labyrinthos "maze, large building with intricate passages," especially the structure built by Daedelus to hold the Minotaur near Knossos in Crete, from a pre-Greek language; perhaps related to Lydian labrys "double-edged axe," symbol of royal power, which fits with the theory that the labyrinth was originally the royal Minoan palace on Crete and meant "palace of the double-axe." Used in English for "maze" early 15c., and in figurative sense of "confusing state of affairs" (1540s).
- A group of complex interconnecting anatomical cavities.
- inner ear
- The system of interconnecting canals and spaces that make up the inner ear of many vertebrates. The labyrinth has both a bony component, made up of the cochlea, the semicircular canals, and the vestibule, and a membranous one.