Definition of labyrinthine in US English:



  • 1(of a network) like a labyrinth; irregular and twisting.

    ‘labyrinthine streets and alleys’
    • ‘You are already lost in its labyrinthine alleys.’
    • ‘Squirrelled away on a mountainside a couple of miles out of town, this is a labyrinthine and deliciously old - fashioned collection of baths and treatment rooms.’
    • ‘A guide can bring her (for a small fee, of course) through its labyrinthine winding laneways and streets, few of which still exist in the modern world.’
    • ‘Inside the art deco cinema building, dating from the British colonial era, a labyrinthine network of corridors, barely wide enough for two people to pass, has been built.’
    • ‘In the labyrinthine back alleys of Kabul, a rusted iron gate and a hand-painted sign mark the entrance to Alam Faizad School, where 4,000 children are enrolled for the first week of classes.’
    • ‘He had a destination in mind and he was not about to get lost in the labyrinthine alleyways and side streets.’
    • ‘Much later, in 1782, during a succession of bloody battles with Spain, the British were forced to burrow the famous Great Siege Tunnels - whose labyrinthine passageways can still be explored.’
    • ‘Rendon Photography and Fine Art, Garcia Glass, Bower Gallery and Isaac Maxwell Metal are among the galleries found along Southtown's labyrinthine streets.’
    • ‘Through re-examining these lost moments of time spent wandering the labyrinthine cityscape, Onda has processed and tweaked aspects of the captured fragments and played them back in real time.’
    • ‘Eventually, after several twists and turns though the labyrinthine hallways, they came to Room 83-34.’
    • ‘The town's labyrinthine streets and alleys are dotted with ancient churches and neat rows of elegant 16 th-century mansions.’
    • ‘Chinguetti, a town that sits on the edge of an immense sea of sand like a harbour village, is a sprawl of labyrinthine streets and walled courtyards.’
    • ‘Sheppards House is one of those labyrinthine '60s blocks where the steps are always damp and you can live next to your neighbours for years without ever bumping into them.’
    • ‘We have been warned about Aleppo's honey-tongued vendors, but are unprepared for the wonders of the souks - a labyrinthine network of dark passageways, which form the world's biggest covered market.’
    • ‘On his travels through the dark, labyrinthine streets of Victorian London, he also meets and falls in love with prostitute Mary Kelly.’
    • ‘And in the vodka bars in the capital's labyrinthine streets the locals will huddle around the televisions tonight waiting for a bulletin on how he has done.’
    • ‘Backstage, hidden away in its unseen archives, labyrinthine corridors and a warren of dark store-rooms are more clues to the lives of Nicholas and Alexandra.’
    • ‘Issues facing the bazaar are manifold, just like its labyrinthine alleys.’
    • ‘Whether it be in the labyrinthine corridors of Hamadan, the brash, bustling alleys of Shiraz or the glass-fronted shops of Isfahan it's really the same.’
    • ‘The red sandstone block I am heading for is equally labyrinthine: a network of stunted corridors and dark stairwells.’
    maze-like, winding, twisting, serpentine, meandering, wandering, rambling, mazy, sinuous, zigzag
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    1. 1.1 (of a system) intricate and confusing.
      ‘labyrinthine plots and counterplots’
      • ‘In the process, he unravelled the labyrinthine means by which a painting bought by war profiteers and sold to German army looters found its way into the cultural heart of Britain.’
      • ‘For a show that has the labyrinthine, seemingly nonsensical plots of a soap opera, that's a real accomplishment.’
      • ‘The country's legendary bureaucracy is as labyrinthine as ever, and its legal system opaque, with separate laws for foreign and domestic investors.’
      • ‘The labyrinthine diplomacy and politics of the Italian wars are the real subject of this painstaking book about what Jem meant to others.’
      • ‘Truly staggering amounts of money, from a variety of well-meaning friends, disappeared into his labyrinthine system of debts, leaving nothing to show.’
      • ‘On Africa, for example, world leaders must not stumble over labyrinthine arguments concerning trade versus aid or governance and conditionality.’
      • ‘Yet the appointment of it's Chief Officer is a labyrinthine affair conducted by various committees, panels, civil servants and most worryingly, politicians.’
      • ‘The friend was badly beaten before disappearing into the depths of the labyrinthine Nigerian justice system.’
      • ‘These were important landmarks in the long battle to standardize the labyrinthine world of the law.’
      • ‘You may, however, be playing Stableford, in which case you are left grappling with even more numbers and lists, this time interpreted through a labyrinthine points system.’
      • ‘In the worst possible outcome, the labyrinthine tactics, Byzantine politics and convoluted logic will delay action.’
      • ‘Almodóvar's plots have always been wonderfully baroque and labyrinthine.’
      • ‘She reveals how the worker must negotiate a labyrinthine bureaucracy of passport controls and booking and employment agents where, at every turn, money is required.’
      • ‘We are individually shaped by our fortunes and misfortunes, by our upbringing, by the labyrinthine patterns of our hates and pleasures.’
      • ‘She also has one other potentially winning policy - the reform of the labyrinthine German tax system.’
      • ‘What saves Auster's story from ponderousness is the sheer verve with which he follows his narrator through the labyrinthine plot.’
      • ‘Instead of reform, the Government is building a labyrinthine system that is so complicated that even simple decisions cannot be made.’
      • ‘This is a labyrinthine complex of interconnecting political institutions, traditions and culture.’
      • ‘By focusing on simpler questions, economists escape getting sucked into the labyrinthine intricacies of the human brain.’
      • ‘It's about two people who get caught up in its labyrinthine politics and have to make contact across a gulf of personal strife and cultural difference.’
      complicated, intricate, complex, involved, tortuous, convoluted, tangled, elaborate, knotty
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