cut the gordian knot

Gordian

[gawr-dee-uhn]
adjective
1.
pertaining to Gordius, ancient king of Phrygia, who tied a knot (the Gordian knot) that, according to prophecy, was to be undone only by the person who was to rule Asia, and that was cut, rather than untied, by Alexander the Great.
2.
resembling the Gordian knot in intricacy.
Idioms
3.
cut the Gordian knot, to act quickly and decisively in a difficult situation; solve a problem boldly.

Origin:
1555–65; < Latin Gordi(us) (< Greek Górdios Gordius) + -an

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

cut the Gordian knot definition


To solve a notoriously difficult problem in a quick and decisive manner: “The president hoped that his bold new anti-inflation plan would cut the Gordian knot.” (See Gordian knot under “Mythology and Folklore.”)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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