"of or pertaining to ancient Crete," 1894, from Minos, famous king of Crete; applied by British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans to the Bronze Age civilization that flourished there c. 3000-1400 B.C.E.
in Greek mythology a flesh-eating monster with a human body and the head of a bull, late 14c., from Greek minotauros, from Minos, king of Crete (compare Minoan), + tauros "bull" (see Taurus). The son of Pasiphae (wife of Minos) by a bull, he was confined in the labyrinth and killed by the Athenian hero Theseus.
Greek goddess of wisdom, skill in the arts, righteous warfare, etc., from Latin Athena, from Greek Athēnē, name of a common Greek goddess, dating to Minoan times, depicted with a snake and protecting the palace. "Like the goddess itself, the name is pre-Greek" [Beekes]. Identified by the Romans with their Minerva.
"resembling a line, of or pertaining to lines," 1640s, from French linéaire, from Latin linearis "belonging to a line," from linea "string, line" (see line (n.)). Essentially the same word as lineal; "in Latin linearis the original suffix -alis was changed to -aris by dissimilation, but in Late Latin this rule was no longer productive and the formation or re-formation in -alis remained unchanged." [Barnhart].
As "involving the use of lines" from 1840, hence Linear A, Linear B, names given (1902-3) to two related forms of linear Minoan writing discovered 1894-1901 in Crete by Sir Arthur Evans and long defying translation. It is used there in opposition to pictographic.
Apparently from a pre-Greek language; traditionally connected to Lydian labrys "double-edged axe," symbol of royal power, which fits with the theory that the original labyrinth was the royal Minoan palace on Crete. It thus would mean "palace of the double-axe." But Beekes finds this "speculative" and compares laura "narrow street, narrow passage, alley, quarter," also identified as a pre-Greek word. Used in English for "maze" early 15c., and in figurative sense of "confusing state of affairs" (1540s). As the name of a structure of the inner ear, the essential organ of hearing, from 1690s.