noun: a persistent or multifaceted problem that presents a new obstacle when part of it is solved
After the many-headed monster Hydra in Greek mythology. When its one head was cut off, it sprouted two more. It was ultimately slain by Hercules. From Latin Hydra, from Greek Hudra (water snake). Ultimately from the Indo-European root wed- (water, wet), which also gave us water, wash, winter, hydrant, redundant, otter, and vodka. Earliest documented use: 1374
Usage (from Wordsmith)
“Roosevelt’s ships and men were drowning in the Pacific, fighting a hydra that formed and reformed in successive island jungles.”
Francine Mathews; Too Bad to Die; Riverhead Books; 2015.
“The FSA ceases to exist today. It is a hydra, however. Two will spring up in its place.”
Dominic O’Connell; Perverse Pru Fine Sends FSA Out on Low Note; Sunday Times (London, UK); Mar 31, 2013.