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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.
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
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.
syn: See predicament.
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|Noun||1.||dilemma - 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
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.
tình thế khó xử
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, verknorsing وَرْطَه، مَأْزِق дилема dilema dilema das Dilemma dilemma δίλημμαdilema dilemma تنگنا؛ دو راهی ناخوشایند dilemma dilemmeדילמה दुविधा dilema, škripac dilemma dilema ógöngur, valþröng dilemma ジレンマ 딜레마 dilema dilemma dilema dilemmadilemma, vanskelig valg, knipedylemat داسى يو حالت چه يو سړى مجبوروى ددوو داسې خواوو څخه يوه غوره كړى چه يوه هم ددته پر طبيعت برابره نه وى: مشكل انتخاب (لكه چه وايى يوى خواته پان دى بلى خواته پړانګ دى dilema dilemă дилемма dilema zadrega dilema dilemma ทางเลือกที่ยุ่งยาก ikilem, çıkmaz 困境，進退兩難 дилема عاجز کرنے والی صورت tình trạng khó xử 困境，进退两难