[ kuh-rib-dis ]

  1. Modern name Ga·lo·fa·lo [Italian gah-law-fah-law], /Italian gɑˈlɔ fɑ lɔ/, Ga·ro·fa·lo [Italian gah-raw-fah-law] /Italian gɑˈrɔ fɑ lɔ/ . a whirlpool in the Strait of Messina off the NE coast of Sicily.

  2. Classical Mythology. a daughter of Gaia and Poseidon, a monster mentioned in Homer and later identified with the whirlpool Charybdis.: Compare Scylla (def. 2).

Origin of Charybdis

First recorded in 1400–50; Middle English Karibdous, Karybdys, from Latin Charybdis, from Greek Chárybdis; further origin uncertain

Other words from Charybdis

  • Cha·ryb·di·an, adjective

Words Nearby Charybdis Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use Charybdis in a sentence

  • Meanwhile many ordinary Egyptians will find themselves back at square one, caught between Scylla and Charybdis.

    Thy Hand, Great Anarch! | Hussein Ibish | August 14, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
  • Yes; and rather easy in avoiding Scylla to fall into Charybdis.

    The Opened Shutters | Clara Louise Burnham
  • He was in the Charybdis of passion, and must perforce circle and circle ever nearer round the fatal centre.

    North and South | Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell
  • But no elaborate argument was needed to rouse a people convinced at last that they were in the vortex of Charybdis.

    The Evolution of Sinn Fein | Robert Mitchell Henry
  • But escaping Scylla she fell into Charybdis; her uncanny practices came to the ears of the authorities, and she was apprehended.

    Irish Witchcraft and Demonology | St. John D. (St. John Drelincourt) Seymour
  • The curiosity of this monarch had been long excited by the accounts he had heard of the bottom of the gulf of Charybdis.

British Dictionary definitions for Charybdis


/ (kəˈrɪbdɪs) /

  1. 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 of Charybdis

  • 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