Thermopylae

[ ther-mop-uh-lee ]
/ θərˈmɒp əˌli /
|

noun

a pass in E Greece, between the cliffs of Mt. Oeta and the Gulf of Lamia: Persian defeat of the Spartans 480 b.c.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for thermopylae

Thermopylae

/ (θəˈmɒpəˌliː) /

noun

(in ancient Greece) a narrow pass between the mountains and the sea linking Locris and Thessaly: a defensible position on a traditional invasion route from N Greece; scene of a famous battle (480 bc) in which a greatly outnumbered Greek army under Leonidas fought to the death to delay the advance of the Persians during their attempted conquest of Greece
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 thermopylae

Thermopylae

from Greek thermos "hot" (see thermal) + pylai, plural of pyle "gate; mountain pass, entrance into a region" (see pylon). In reference to nearby hot sulfur springs. Often simply hai pylai "the gates."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper