For example:

There is a problem A. To solve A x, y and z are needed. But you can't have x without y, the lack of y is problematic for z, without which x is impossible.

Looking for a word that would describe this and would be more colorful than 'complex'.

Thank you!

  • I would like to suggest intricate or entangled. Nov 21, 2013 at 17:05

4 Answers 4


Multifaceted. Literally, "having many sides". Figuratively, having many different aspects or features.


That's an intricate problem:

OED - interwinding in a complicated manner.

M-W - having many complexly interrelating parts or elements.

Another good word is convoluted.


A Gordian knot

n. 1. An exceedingly complicated problem or deadlock.

A deadlock being when A can't move / be solved before B, and B can't move before A.

  • 1
    Though the figurative description of the problem suggests that a similarly simple and straightforward solution must exist as in the original.
    – Jon Hanna
    Nov 21, 2013 at 17:57
  • +1 but ironically, the Alexandrian solution did not involve approaching from different angles, just one.
    – bib
    Nov 21, 2013 at 17:57
  • 2
    @bib, quite an acute angle at that.
    – Jon Hanna
    Nov 21, 2013 at 18:24
  • @JonHanna Sharp as always.
    – bib
    Nov 21, 2013 at 18:32

Please consider:

**interdependent** *adjective* :  2. reciprocal <interrelation> 
2a :  determined or conditioned by another

Although I wouldn't consider the problem interdependent, the relatinoships are interdependent, which I think implies a complex problem and adds the description you seek.

from "inter" and "dependent;" m-w.com

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