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
Sample Sentences & Example Usage
TO BE is life's dilemma while facing the eternity of death.
Culture is on the horns of this dilemma if profound and noble it must remain rare, if common it must become mean.
Santos' government has a dilemma of persisting with the policy of war and pacification or dare to take a true path to peace.
I really believe every rhino counts, it really is a dilemma. ... But I really struggle to say I'm saving rhinos and then say that one can be hunted.
It is a movie about what someone like Chris, a soldier, has to go through and the dilemma and the horror of it and the battle internally and with the family.
Images & Illustrations of dilemma
Translations for dilemma
From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary
- dilemma, pulmaFinnish
- dilema, дилемаSerbo-Croatian
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