1. Modern name Scilla. a rock in the Strait of Messina off the S coast of Italy.
  2. Classical Mythology. a sea nymph who was transformed into a sea monster: later identified with the rock Scylla.Compare Charybdis(def 2).
  1. between Scylla and Charybdis, between two equally perilous alternatives, neither of which can be passed without encountering and probably falling victim to the other. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for scylla

Historical Examples of scylla

  • What a fatality, that you have no better an option—either a Scylla or a Charybdis.

    Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • What hath availed me Syrtes or Scylla, what desolate Charybdis?

  • She rode up close to Scylla and put her hand on Texas's neck.

  • Scylla exclaimed to Martha as John fixed her on Texas's back.

  • Then, with great pains and trouble, she pulled and lifted Scylla into the saddle.

British Dictionary definitions for scylla


  1. Greek myth a sea nymph transformed into a sea monster believed to drown sailors navigating the Strait of Messina. She was identified with a rock off the Italian coastCompare Charybdis
  2. between Scylla and Charybdis in a predicament in which avoidance of either of two dangers means exposure to the other
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 scylla



sea-monster in the Strait of Messina, from Latinized form of Greek Skylla, of unknown origin, perhaps related to skyllein "to tear."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with scylla


see between a rock and a hard place (Scylla and Charybdis).

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.