dilemma

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di·lem·ma

 (dĭ-lĕm′ə)
n.
1. A situation that requires a choice between options that are or seem equally unfavorable or unsatisfactory.
2. Usage Problem A problem that seems to defy a satisfactory solution.
3. Logic An argument that presents two alternatives, each of which has the same consequence.

[Late Latin, from Greek dilēmma, ambiguous proposition : di-, two; see di-1 + lēmma, proposition; see lemma1.]

dil′em·mat′ic (dĭl′ə-măt′ĭk) adj.
Usage Note: In its traditional use, dilemma refers to a situation in which a choice must be made between alternative courses of action or argument. The word is also used more loosely to mean "problem" or "predicament" without implying that a choice must be made. This usage has been criticized by language critics, and the Usage Panel still supports this view, but this support has been eroding over time. In our 1999 survey, 58 percent of the Usage Panel rejected the sentence Historically, race has been the great dilemma of democracy. This is a significant decrease from the 74 percent that rejected a similar sentence in 1988. · It is sometimes claimed that because the di- in dilemma comes from a Greek prefix meaning "two," the word should be used only when exactly two choices are involved. In 2005, some 58 percent of the Panel reported that they followed this restriction in their own writing. The remaining 42 percent said that the word could acceptably be used for more than two choices. It seems unlikely that writers will be taken to task for ignoring the two-choice limit.

dilemma

(dɪˈlɛmə; daɪ-)
n
1. a situation necessitating a choice between two equal, esp equally undesirable, alternatives
2. a problem that seems incapable of a solution
3. (Logic) logic a form of argument one of whose premises is the conjunction of two conditional statements and the other of which affirms the disjunction of their antecedents, and whose conclusion is the disjunction of their consequents. Its form is if p then q and if r then s; either p or r so either q or s
4. on the horns of a dilemma
a. faced with the choice between two equally unpalatable alternatives
b. in an awkward situation
[C16: via Latin from Greek, from di-1 + lēmma assumption, proposition, from lambanein to take, grasp]
dilemmatic, dilˈemmic adj
Usage: The use of dilemma to refer to a problem that seems incapable of a solution is considered by some people to be incorrect

di•lem•ma

(dɪˈlɛm ə)

n., pl. -mas.
1. a situation requiring a choice between equally undesirable alternatives.
2. any perplexing situation or problem.
3. a form of syllogism in which the major premise is formed of two or more conditional propositions and the minor premise is a disjunctive proposition, as “If A, then B; if C then D. Either A or C. Therefore, either B or D.”
[1515–25; < Late Latin < Greek dílēmma=di- di-1 + lêmma an assumption, premise, derivative of lambánein to take]
dil•em•mat•ic (ˌdɪl əˈmæt ɪk) adj.
dil`em•mat′i•cal•ly, adv.
syn: See predicament.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.dilemma - state of uncertainty or perplexity especially as requiring a choice between equally unfavorable optionsdilemma - state of uncertainty or perplexity especially as requiring a choice between equally unfavorable options
perplexity - trouble or confusion resulting from complexity
double bind - (psychology) an unresolvable dilemma; situation in which a person receives contradictory messages from a person who is very powerful

dilemma

noun predicament, problem, difficulty, spot (informal), fix (informal), mess, puzzle, jam (informal), embarrassment, plight, strait, pickle (informal), how-do-you-do (informal), quandary, perplexity, tight corner or spot The issue raises a moral dilemma.
on the horns of a dilemma between the devil and the deep blue sea, between a rock and a hard place (informal), between Scylla and Charybdis I found myself on the horns of a dilemma - whatever I did, it would be wrong.
Usage: The use of dilemma to refer to a problem that seems incapable of a solution is considered by some people to be incorrect. To avoid this misuse of the word, an appropriate alternative such as predicament could be used.

dilemma

noun
A difficult, often embarrassing situation or condition:
Informal: bind, pickle, spot.
Translations
وَرْطَةوَرْطَه، مَأْزِق
dilema
dilemma
pulmatilanne
dilema
dilemma
ógöngur, valòröng
ジレンマ
딜레마
dilema
dilemma
dilema
dilemma
สภาวะลำบาก
tình thế khó xử

dilemma

[daɪˈlemə] Ndilema m
to be in a dilemmaestar en or tener un dilema
see also horn

dilemma

[dɪˈlɛmə daɪˈlɛmə] ndilemme m
to be in a dilemma → être pris(e) dans un dilemme
to raise a dilemma → soulever un dilemme

dilemma

nDilemma nt; to be in a dilemmasich in einem Dilemma befinden, in der Klemme sitzen (inf); to place somebody in a dilemmajdn in eine Klemme (inf)or ein Dilemma bringen; he is faced with a serious dilemmaer steht vor einem ernsten Dilemma

dilemma

[daɪˈlɛmə] ndilemma m
to be in a dilemma → essere di fronte a un dilemma

dilemma

(diˈlemə) , (ˈdailemə) noun
a position or situation giving two choices, neither pleasant. His dilemma was whether to leave the party early so as to get a lift in his friend's car, or to stay and walk eight kilometres home.

dilemma

وَرْطَة dilema dilemma Dilemma δίλημμα dilema pulmatilanne dilemme dilema dilemma ジレンマ 딜레마 dilemma dilemma dylemat dilema дилемма dilemma สภาวะลำบาก ikilem tình thế khó xử 窘境
References in classic literature ?
But while I thus deliberated, something soft pressed in at the door; and, making a sudden dart, I had the little baggage who had brought about my dilemma a prisoner in my arms.
But what could a man do in such a dilemma? He was bound in honour to say no word that could injure Hetty: his first duty was to guard her.
Some of the writers who have come forward on the other side of the question seem to have been aware of the dilemma; and have even been bold enough to hint at the division of the larger States as a desirable thing.
At all events I am not alone in my way of extricating myself from this dilemma; for I find that many of the highest Circles, sitting as Judges in law courts, use praise and blame towards Regular and Irregular Figures; and in their homes I know by experience that, when scolding their children, they speak about "right" or "wrong" as vehemently and passionately as if they believed that these names represented real existences, and that a human Figure is really capable of choosing between them.
However, the solution of the problem submitted to me may modify the form of the dilemma. Either we do know all the varieties of beings which people our planet, or we do not.
From this Dilemma I was most fortunately releived by an accident truly apropos; it was the lucky overturning of a Gentleman's Phaeton, on the road which ran murmuring behind us.
Black George now repaired to his wife, on whose prudent counsel he depended to extricate him out of this dilemma; but when he came thither he found his house in some confusion.
Then the members of the committee tried to withdraw their admission, and Sergey Ivanovitch began to prove that they must logically admit either that they had verified the accounts or that they had not, and he developed this dilemma in detail.
To add to our dilemma, we found the pumps choked and nearly useless.
It may have occurred to your mind that the plain way out of our present dilemma is for you and Miss Silvester, respectively, to affirm what we know to be the truth--namely, that you never had the slightest intention of marrying each other.
If, however, our definition was not complete, if those things only are properly called relative in the case of which relation to an external object is a necessary condition of existence, perhaps some explanation of the dilemma may be found.
In this dilemma Governor Shirley fixed upon a wealthy merchant, named William Pepperell, who was pretty well known and liked among the people.