Definition of Charybdis
: a whirlpool off the coast of Sicily personified in Greek mythology as a female monster — compare scylla
Did You Know?
The Strait of Messina is the narrow passage between the island of Sicily and the "toe" of Italy's "boot". In Greek mythology, two monsters hovered on either side of the strait. Scylla, a female monster with six snake-like heads, each with pointed teeth, barked like a dog from the rocks on the Italian side. Charybdis, on the Sicilian side, caused a whirlpool by swallowing the waters of the sea three times a day. When Odysseus attempted to sail between them, he encountered disaster on both sides. Being caught between Scylla and Charybdis is a lot like being between a rock and a hard place.
Origin and Etymology of charybdis
Latin, from Greek
First Known Use: 15th centurySee Words from the same year
Learn More about charybdis
Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about Charybdis
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up Charybdis? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).