- 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
- (in Greek legend) a complicated knot, tied by King Gordius of Phrygia, that Alexander the Great cut with a sword
- a complicated and intricate problem (esp in the phrase cut the Gordian knot)
Word Origin and History for gordian knot
1560s, tied by Gordius, king of Phrygia in Asia Minor, who predicted the one to loosen it would rule Asia. Instead, Alexander the Great cut the Gordian knot with his sword; hence the extended sense (1570s in English) "solve a difficult problem in a quick, dramatic way."