What does dilemma mean?

Definitions for dilemmadɪˈlɛm ə

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word dilemma.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. dilemma, quandary(noun)

    state of uncertainty or perplexity especially as requiring a choice between equally unfavorable options


  1. dilemma(Noun)

    A circumstance in which a choice must be made between two or more alternatives that seem equally undesirable.

  2. dilemma(Noun)

    (disputed) A difficult circumstance or problem.

  3. dilemma(Noun)

    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".

  4. dilemma(Noun)

    Offering to an opponent a choice between two (equally unfavorable) alternatives.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Dilemma(noun)

    an argument which presents an antagonist with two or more alternatives, but is equally conclusive against him, whichever alternative he chooses

  2. Dilemma(noun)

    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

  3. Origin: [L. dilemma, Gr. ; di- = di`s- twice + to take. See Lemma.]


  1. Dilemma

    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

  1. Dilemma

    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. dilēmmadi-, twice, double, lēmma, an assumption—lambanein, to take.]

British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'dilemma' in Nouns Frequency: #2434


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of dilemma in Chaldean Numerology is: 4

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of dilemma in Pythagorean Numerology is: 3

Sample Sentences & Example Usage

  1. Greg Fayvilevich:

    It will be a dilemma.

  2. Sorin Cerin:

    TO BE is life's dilemma while facing the eternity of death.

  3. Zhang Jihong:

    There is no doubt all the companies are facing a financing dilemma.

  4. Wu Kang:

    That is China's industry dilemma: surplus in fuel capacity, but short in petrochemicals.

  5. George Santayana:

    Culture is on the horns of this dilemma if profound and noble it must remain rare, if common it must become mean.

Images & Illustrations of dilemma

  1. dilemmadilemmadilemma

Translations for dilemma

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"dilemma." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2018. Web. 24 Feb. 2018. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/dilemma>.

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