Do you know what the word labyrinth means? This post will provide you with the meaning of labyrinth, usage examples, and more.
When you hear the word “labyrinth,” what comes to mind?
Do you think about Guillermo del Toro’s academy award-winning dark fable Pan’s Labyrinth? Or what about the dystopian sci-fi film based on James Dashner’s 2009 novel The Maze Runner?
Maybe when someone says labyrinth, you’re left dazed and confused because you have not the slightest clue as to what the word means. Not to worry, though — we’re here to help.
In this guide, you’ll discover everything you need to know about the term labyrinth, including its definition, origin, synonyms, and more.
What Is the Definition of Labyrinth?
According to Cambridge English Dictionary, the definition of labyrinth is something that is very confusing. Cambridge further defines labyrinth as a confusing set of connecting paths or passages that someone would get lost in.
In the context of anatomy, the definition of labyrinth is a complex structure in the inner ear. This structure contains various organs of balance and hearing and consists of a bony labyrinth known more commonly as bony cavities.
A near-synonym for labyrinth is maze, according to Power Thesaurus.
What Are the Synonyms and Antonyms for Labyrinth?
One of the simplest ways to improve your understanding of a word that literally means “very confusing” is by learning its synonyms and antonyms.
In this digital day and age, most of us don’t have a thesaurus on hand, and as such, we have included a list of commonly used synonyms and antonyms for labyrinth:
- Rabbit warren
- Mixed bag
- Mash up
- Burial chamber
- Inner ear
- Auris interna
- Sepulchre (in British English)
- Complex network
- Motley collection
- Network of paths
- Single path
- Solution to a difficulty
- Straight path
What Is the Etymology of Labyrinth?
Labyrinth’s first recorded use occurred roughly between 1540 and 1550. Labyrinth was derived from three different words: the Greek labýrinthos (Λαβύρινθος), Latin labyrinthus, and Late Middle English laborintus.
According to Greek mythology, there was also a legend passed down by the Ancient Greeks that spoke about the labyrinth. According to this legend, “the Labyrinth” was a structure built in Crete for King Minos by the inventor Daedalus. This labyrinth was said to have been built to confine a frightening monster that had the body of a man but had the head of a bull — the Minotaur.
The tale goes on to speak of the daughter of King Minos, Ariadne. Ariadne was rumored to have used a ball of thread to aid the Greek hero Theseus out of the labyrinth built by Crete, who subsequently defeated the Minotaur.
Labyrinth Translated in Various Languages
With labyrinth’s roots in various dialectics across the globe, it’s no surprise we see the word used in a wide variety of languages. We have included below a shortlist of the various translations of the word of the day:
- European Portuguese — labirinto
- French — labyrinthe
- Spanish — laberinto
- Japanese — 迷路
- German — Labyrinth
- European Spanish — laberinto
- Chinese — 迷宫
- Korean — 미로
- Brazilian Portuguese — labirinto
- Italian — labirinto
Example Sentences of Labyrinth
Below we have included examples of the word of the day used properly in a sentence:
Guests of the hotel repeatedly complained that the aging building felt like a labyrinth with all its dimly lit corridors.
After the tragic loss of her spouse, Shelly swore off the labyrinth of love.
As city kids left every summer on our grandad’s farm, our fondest memory will always be getting lost in the labyrinth of corn stalks as we chased one another.
Even after all the warnings from our tour guide, here I was, lost in the labyrinth of this old museum after falling behind.
After running into countless dead ends, the intricacy of the labyrinth proved too difficult for our party, and we had to seek outside assistance to reach the end.
History is still one of my favorite subjects; today, we learned that Labyrinth can loosely be linked to the Lydian word, labrys.
To recap all of our newfound knowledge, a labyrinth is a structure that is usually confusing and hard to navigate with its many connected passages, secret chambers, and seemingly random pathways.
Labyrinth also sees use in a more figurative context, an example of this is if you were to playfully define our tax code as a labyrinth with all of its complex and often confusing regulations and rules.