- A dangerous whirlpool in a narrow channel of the sea, opposite the cave of the sea monster Scylla.
“While she is a monster, the story of Charybdis is my favorite part of the ‘Odyssey.'”
“We nicknamed the new Jacuzzi tub ‘Charybdis’ for its powerful whirlpool jets.”
“I need to make up my mind about this trip, but I feel like I’m between Scylla and Charybdis.”
Greek, late 16th century
Why this word?
Charybdis is one of the terrifying monsters the hero Odysseus had to face on his long journey home in Homer’s “Odyssey.” This creature belched forth seawater, taking down unsuspecting sailors. Charybdis was likely written to personify a whirlpool, and the other creature she is often paired with, Scylla, is frequently depicted in art as a rock or reef. The idiom “between Scylla and Charybdis” means to be caught between two equally unpleasant outcomes or choices.
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