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 formsCha·ryb·di·an, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for charybdis

Contemporary Examples of charybdis

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

    The Daily Beast logo
    Thy Hand, Great Anarch!

    Hussein Ibish

    August 14, 2013

Historical Examples of charybdis

  • 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

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 coastCompare Scylla
Derived FormsCharybdian, 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

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