Etymology
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Thermopylae

narrow land passage along the Malian Gulf in ancient Greece, from Greek thermos "hot" (from PIE root *gwher- "to heat, warm") + pylai, plural of pylē "gate; mountain pass, entrance into a region" (see pylon). In reference to nearby hot sulfur springs. Often simply hai pylai "the gates." Figurative of heroic resistance against overwhelming numbers since the battle fought there between the Greeks and Persians in 480 B.C.E.

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Definitions of Thermopylae

Thermopylae (n.)
a famous battle in 480 BC; a Greek army under Leonidas was annihilated by the Persians who were trying to conquer Greece;
Synonyms: battle of Thermopylae
From wordnet.princeton.edu