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From Latin labyrinthus, from Ancient Greek λαβύρινθος ‎(labúrinthos, maze), possibly related to Lydian lábrus 'double-edged axe', symbol of royal power, which fits with the theory that the labyrinth was originally the royal Minoan palace on Crete and meant "palace of the double-axe."


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈlæb.(ə)ɹ.ɪnθ/, /ˈlæb.ɪ.ɹɪnθ/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈlæb.ɚ.ɪnθ/, /ˈlæb.ɹɪnθ/
  • (file)


labyrinth ‎(plural labyrinths)

  1. A maze, especially underground or covered.
  2. Part of the inner ear.
  3. (figuratively) Anything complicated and confusing, like a maze.
    • 2014 August 23, Neil Hegarty, “Hidden City: Adventures and Explorations in Dublin by Karl Whitney, review: 'a necessary corrective' [print version: Re-Joycing in Dublin, p. R25]”[1], The Daily Telegraph (Review):
      Whitney is absorbed especially by Dublin's unglamorous interstitial zones: the new housing estates and labyrinths of roads, watercourses and railways where the city peters into its commuter belt.

Derived terms[edit]



labyrinth ‎(third-person singular simple present labyrinths, present participle labyrinthing, simple past and past participle labyrinthed)

  1. To enclose in a labyrinth, or as though in a labyrinth.
  2. To arrange in the form of a labyrinth.