A labyrinth made by carefully trimmed hedges.
- An example of a labyrinth is a corn field maze on Halloween.
- An example of a labyinth is the IRS tax code.
- a structure consisting of an intricate network of winding passages bordered as by walls or hedges; specif., such a structure designed for prayer and meditation: technically, a labyrinth (unlike a maze) contains no dead ends and consists of a single path leading to a center
- a complicated, perplexing arrangement, course of affairs, etc.
- Anat. the inner ear
- Gr. Myth. the labyrinthine structure built by Daedalus for King Minos of Crete, to house the Minotaur
Origin of labyrinthMiddle English laborintus (altered by folk etymology by associated, association with Classical Latin labor, labor + intus, into) ; from Classical Latin labyrinthus ; from Classical Greek labyrinthos, of pre-Hellenic origin, originally
- a. An intricate structure of interconnecting passages through which it is difficult to find one's way; a maze.b. Labyrinth Greek Mythology The maze in which the Minotaur was confined.
- Something highly intricate or convoluted in character, composition, or construction: a labyrinth of rules and regulations.
- Anatomy a. A group of complex interconnecting anatomical cavities.b. See inner ear.
Origin of labyrinthMiddle English laberinthe, from Latin labyrinthus, from Greek laburinthos; possibly akin to labrus, double-headed ax (used as a ritual weapon and a sign of authority in Minoan civilization, so that Greek laburinthos, may originally have designated a Minoan palace as “the house of the double-headed ax”), of Lydian origin.
(third-person singular simple present labyrinths, present participle labyrinthing, simple past and past participle labyrinthed)
- To enclose in a labyrinth, or as though in a labyrinth.
- To arrange in the form of a labyrinth.
From Latin labyrinthus, from Ancient Greek λαβύρινθος (labúrinthos, “maze”), possibly from an Anatolian language (compare Lydian lábrus 'double-edged axe' and -inthos, a suffix typical of Anatolian placenames), although the actual etymology of labyrinth is still a matter of conjecture.