Dilemma 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. [1913 Webster]

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 elude 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. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

A strong dilemma in a desperate case! To act with infamy, or quit the place. --Swift. [1913 Webster]

{Horns of a dilemma}, alternatives, each of which is equally difficult of encountering. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Dilemma — Dilemma …   Deutsch Wörterbuch

  • dilemma — is now more usually pronounced with the first syllable rhyming with die. The correct meaning is ‘a choice between two undesirable alternatives’ and has its origin in rhetoric and logic, where it relates to a special kind of argument involving two …   Modern English usage

  • Dilemma — «Dilemma» Сингл Нелли Келли Роуленд Выпущен Июль 2002r. Формат CD • Download Жанр Ритм н блюз Композитор …   Википедия

  • Dilemma — Sn Zwangslage erw. fremd. Erkennbar fremd (16. Jh.) Entlehnung. Entlehnt aus l. dilēmma Doppelsatz , dieses aus gr. dilẽmma, zu gr. lẽmma Einnahme, Annahme aus gr. lambánein nehmen, ergreifen und gr. di . Zunächst ein Wort der Logik. Es… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • Dilemma — Single par Nelly extrait de l’album Nellyville Sortie 2002 Enregistrement 2002 Durée 4:49 (version album) 3:55 (version radio) Genre …   Wikipédia en Français

  • dilemma — /di lɛm:a/ s.m. [dal lat. dilemma ătis, gr. dílēmma atos ] (pl. i ). 1. (filos.) [forma di argomentazione, nella quale si stabilisce un alternativa tra due ipotesi equivalenti: proporre, risolvere un d. ] ▶◀ antinomia. 2. (estens.) [necessità di… …   Enciclopedia Italiana

  • dilemma — 1520s, from L.L. dilemma, from Gk. dilemma double proposition, a technical term in rhetoric, from di two + lemma premise, anything received or taken, from root of lambanein to take (see ANALEMMA (Cf. analemma)). It should be used only of… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Dilemma — (v. gr., Doppelsatz), eine Art der hypothetischen Schlüsse, bei welcher der Obersatz hypothetisch u. disjunctiv zugleich ist, im Untersatz aber die Disjunction im Hinterglied aufgenommen wird, um im Schlußsatz die Hypothese im Vorderglied (des… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Dilemma — »Zwangslage«: Das Fremdwort wurde Ende des 16. Jh.s aus lat. dilemma bzw. griech. di lēmma »Doppelsatz« (eigentlich »Doppelfang, Zwiegriff«) entlehnt. Dieser ursprünglich der Logik zugehörige Terminus bezeichnet eigentlich eine Art »Fangschluss« …   Das Herkunftswörterbuch

  • dilemma — [di lem′ə; ] also [ dīlem′ə] n. [LL < LGr(Ec) dilēmma < di , two + lēmma, proposition: see LEMMA1] 1. an argument necessitating a choice between equally unfavorable or disagreeable alternatives 2. any situation in which one must choose… …   English World dictionary

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