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Meaning of “Cut The Gordian Knot” phrase of Idiom, definition and synonyms use in sentence.

Cut The Gordian Knot

“His sword would have cut the Gordian Knot of hereditary right.”

-BOLINGBROKE: On Parties (1735).

“Cutting the Gordian knot” is ordinarily held to signify a promptitude in the determination to solve an intricate problem.

As the result of a chariot race which he had won, he being the first to enter the Temple of Jupiter at Gordium, a certain peasant of Phrygia, named Gordiok, was chosen by the people to be their king. His son, Midas, consecrated to the god the chariot by which so great a victory had been achieved. The knot which connected the drought-pole to the yoke was so cunningly tied that the two ends were invisible. The Oracle, who had promised the kingdom to the winner of the race, now promised the lordship of all Asia to whoever should be the first to untie the knot.

Alexander the Great, hearing of this, several times vainly attempted to loosen the knot. Finally, losing his patience, the equivalent of losing his temper, he cut the knot with his sword, coolly remarking: “That’s the best way to untie knots!”

Our phrase has often been used to indicate a certain type of mind in politics which, eager to achieve a laudable end, finds the ordinary paths of diplomacy and legislation too tortuous—even impassable—and seeks a “short cut” by a sudden stroke. Such rash action may be dangerous, and may lead to irretrievable disaster.

“To take the sword to cut the knot of entanglement which statesmanlike patience would have untied was a fatal blunder.” Those words were uttered by Lord (then John) Morley, in a time of British political fever, when the South African War began in 1899.

Nevertheless, in national and international affairs there art at times knots which—metaphorically or really—only a quick and decisive sword-stroke will undo.


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