state of uncertainty or perplexity especially as requiring a choice between equally unfavorable options
A circumstance in which a choice must be made between two or more alternatives that seem equally undesirable.
(disputed) A difficult circumstance or problem.
A type of syllogism of the form "if A is true then B is true; if C is true then D is true; either A or C is true; therefore either B or D is true".
Offering to an opponent a choice between two (equally unfavorable) alternatives.
an argument which presents an antagonist with two or more alternatives, but is equally conclusive against him, whichever alternative he chooses
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
Origin: [L. dilemma, Gr. ; di- = di`s- twice + to take. See Lemma.]
A dilemma is a problem offering two possibilities, neither of which is practically acceptable. One in this position has been traditionally described as "being on the horns of a dilemma", neither horn being comfortable. This is sometimes more colorfully described as "Finding oneself impaled upon the horns of a dilemma", referring to the sharp points of a bull's horns, equally uncomfortable. The dilemma is sometimes used as a rhetorical device, in the form "you must accept either A, or B"; here A and B would be propositions each leading to some further conclusion. Applied incorrectly, it constitutes a false dichotomy, a fallacy.
Chambers 20th Century Dictionary
di-lem′a, n. a form of argument in which the maintainer of a certain proposition is committed to accept one of two alternative propositions each of which contradicts his original contention: a position where each of two alternative courses (or of all the feasible courses) is eminently undesirable: a trying practical difficulty. The argument was called a 'horned syllogism,' and the victim compared to a man certain to be impaled on one or other of the horns of an infuriated bull, hence the Horns of a dilemma: the usual phrase Landed in a dilemma is, or suggests, a mixed metaphor.—adj. Dilemmat′ic. [L.,—Gr. dilēmma—di-, twice, double, lēmma, an assumption—lambanein, to take.]
British National Corpus
Rank popularity for the word 'dilemma' in Nouns Frequency: #2434
The numerical value of dilemma in Chaldean Numerology is: 4
The numerical value of dilemma in Pythagorean Numerology is: 3
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Translations for dilemma
From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary
- dilemma, pulmaFinnish
- dilema, дилемаSerbo-Croatian
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