Catch-22(redirected from Catch 22)
Also found in: Medical, Idioms, Encyclopedia.
Catch-22also catch-22 (kăch′twĕn-tē-to͞o′, kĕch′-)
1. A situation in which a desired outcome or solution is impossible to attain because of a set of inherently contradictory rules or conditions: "In the Catch-22 of a closed repertoire, only music that is already familiar is thought to deserve familiarity" (Joseph McLennan).
2. A contradictory or self-defeating course of action: "The Catch-22 of his administration was that every grandiose improvement scheme began with community dismemberment" (Village Voice).
3. A tricky or disadvantageous condition; a catch: "Of course, there is a Catch-22 with Form 4868—you are supposed to include a check if you owe any additional tax, otherwise you face some penalties" (New York).
[After Catch-22, a novel by Joseph Heller.]
1. a situation in which a person is frustrated by a paradoxical rule or set of circumstances that preclude any attempt to escape from them
2. a situation in which any move that a person can make will lead to trouble
[C20: from the title of a novel (1961) by the US writer J. Heller (1923–99)]
n., pl. Catch-22's, Catch-22s.
1. a frustrating situation in which one is trapped by contradictory regulations or conditions.
2. any illogical or paradoxical problem or situation; dilemma.
3. a condition, regulation, etc., preventing the resolution of a problem or situation; catch.
[from a military regulation in a novel of the same name (1961) by U.S. novelist Joseph Heller]