- pertaining to Gordius, ancient king of Phrygia, who tied a knot (the Gordian knot) that, according to prophecy, was to be undone only by the person who was to rule Asia, and that was cut, rather than untied, by Alexander the Great.
- resembling the Gordian knot in intricacy.
- cut the Gordian knot, to act quickly and decisively in a difficult situation; solve a problem boldly.
Origin of Gordian
1555–65; < Latin Gordi(us) (< Greek Górdios Gordius) + -an
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
cut the Gordian knot
To solve a notoriously difficult problem in a quick and decisive manner: “The president hoped that his bold new anti-inflation plan would cut the Gordian knot.” (See Gordian knot under “Mythology and Folklore.”)
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.