Gordian knotGor·di·an knot
- Gr. Legend a knot tied by King Gordius of Phrygia, which an oracle reveals will be undone only by the future master of Asia: Alexander the Great, failing to untie it, cuts the knot with his sword
- any perplexing problem
cut the Gordian knot
- An exceedingly complicated problem or deadlock.
- An intricate knot tied by King Gordius of Phrygia and cut by Alexander the Great with his sword after hearing an oracle promise that whoever could undo it would be the next ruler of Asia.
(plural Gordian knots)
From the name of a legendary knot tied to a pole near the temple of Zeus in Gordium. It was prophesied that whoever loosed the knot would become ruler of all Asia. Alexander the Great solved the puzzle by slicing through the knot and took it as a sign of Zeus's favor. He then proceeded to conquer much of the known world.