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Meaning of DILEMMA

Pronunciation:  di'lemu

WordNet Dictionary
[n]  state of uncertainty or perplexity especially as requiring a choice between equally unfavorable options

DILEMMA is a 7 letter word that starts with D.


 Synonyms: quandary
 See Also: double bind, perplexity



Webster's 1913 Dictionary
\Di*lem"ma\, n. [L. dilemma, Gr. ?; di- = di`s- twice +
? to take. See {Lemma}.]
1. (Logic) An argument which presents an antagonist with two
   or more alternatives, but is equally conclusive against
   him, whichever alternative he chooses.

Note: The following are instances of the dilemma. A young
      rhetorician applied to an old sophist to be taught the
      art of pleading, and bargained for a certain reward to
      be paid when he should gain a cause. The master sued
      for his reward, and the scholar endeavored to ?lude his
      claim by a dilemma. ``If I gain my cause, I shall
      withhold your pay, because the judge's award will be
      against you; if I lose it, I may withhold it, because I
      shall not yet have gained a cause.'' ``On the
      contrary,'' says the master, ``if you gain your cause,
      you must pay me, because you are to pay me when you
      gain a cause; if you lose it, you must pay me, because
      the judge will award it.'' --Johnson.

2. A state of things in which evils or obstacles present
   themselves on every side, and it is difficult to determine
   what course to pursue; a vexatious alternative or
   predicament; a difficult choice or position.

         A strong dilemma in a desperate case! To act with
         infamy, or quit the place.            --Swift.

{Horns of a dilemma}, alternatives, each of which is equally
   difficult of encountering.

Thesaurus Terms
 Related Terms: Aristotelian sorites, baffle, bafflement, bewilderment, bind, bother, box, catch-22, categorical syllogism, choice of Hercules, confoundment, confusion, corner, crux, deadlock, difficulty, discomposure, disconcert, disconcertedness, disconcertion, disconcertment, disturbance, embarrassment, enigma, enthymeme, figure, fix, Goclenian sorites, Gordian knot, hole, impasse, jam, knot, knotty point, mode, modus tollens, mood, mystery, mystification, no choice, node, nodus, nonplus, only choice, oxymoron, paradox, paralogism, perplexity, perturbation, pickle, plight, pons asinorum, poser, pother, predicament, problem, prosyllogism, pseudosyllogism, puzzle, puzzlement, quandary, riddle, rule, rule of deduction, scrape, Scylla and Charybdis, snooker, sorites, spot, squeeze, stalemate, stew, stymie, syllogism, teaser, trouble, unassuredness, upset, vexed question