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Minotaur

[min-uh-tawr]
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noun
  1. Classical Mythology. a monster, the offspring of Pasiphaë and the Cretan bull, that had the head of a bull on the body of a man: housed in the Cretan Labyrinth, it was fed on human flesh until Theseus, helped by Ariadne, killed it.
  2. any person or thing that devours or destroys.

Origin of Minotaur

< Latin Mīnōtaurus < Greek Mīnṓtauros, equivalent to Mī́nō(s) Minos + taúros bull
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for minotaur

Minotaur

noun
  1. Greek myth a monster with the head of a bull and the body of a man. It was kept in the Labyrinth in Crete, feeding on human flesh, until destroyed by Theseus

Word Origin

C14: via Latin from Greek Minōtauros, from Minos + tauros bull
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

Word Origin and History for minotaur

Minotaur

n.

late 14c., from Greek minotauros, from Minos, king of Crete + tauros "bull" (see Taurus). A flesh-eating monster, half man half bull, son of Pasiphae (wife of Minos) by a bull.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

minotaur in Culture

Minotaur

[(min-uh-tawr)]

In classical mythology, a monster, half man and half bull. The Minotaur was born to the queen of Crete, Pasiphaë, after she mated with a sacred bull. The king Minos, to hide his shame, had Daedalus construct the Labyrinth in which to hide the monster. Minos then forced the Athenians to send as tribute fourteen of their young people, seven men and seven women, to be locked in the Labyrinth for the Minotaur to eat. To stop the slaughter, the hero Theseus volunteered to enter the Labyrinth and fight the Minotaur. On the instructions of the king's daughter, Theseus brought in a ball of thread, which he unwound as he went through. He found the Minotaur, killed it, and then used the thread to find his way out of the maze.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.