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Apr 13, 2011
This week's theme
Words originating in knots

This week's words
knotty
denouement
gordian
nodus
knaggy

Alexander cuts the Gordian Knot: painting by Jean-Simon Berthélemy
Alexander cuts the Gordian Knot
Art: Jean-Simon Berthélemy

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Gordian

PRONUNCIATION:
(GOR-dee-uhn)

MEANING:
adjective: Highly intricate; extremely difficult to solve.

ETYMOLOGY:
In Greek mythology, King Gordius of Phrygia tied a knot that defied all who tried to untie it. An oracle prophesied that one who would undo this Gordian knot would rule Asia. Alexander the Great simply cut the knot with one stroke of his sword. Hence the saying, "to cut the Gordian knot", meaning to solve a difficult problem by a simple, bold, and effective action. Earliest documented use: 1579.

USAGE:
"The Gordian complexity of Afghanistan continues to confound Washington's top military and political strategists."
Patience, Perseverance Best Options in Afghanistan; The Dallas Morning News (Texas); Dec 27, 2010.

See more usage examples of gordian in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments; there are consequences. -Robert Green Ingersoll, lawyer and orator (1833-1899)

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