noun Etymology: Late Latin, from Late Greek dilēmmat-, dilēmma, probably back-formation from Greek dilēmmatos involving two assumptions, from di- + lēmmat-, lēmma assumption — more at lemma Date: 1523 1. an argument presenting two or more equally conclusive alternatives against an opponent 2. a. a usually undesirable or unpleasant choice <
faces this dilemma: raise interest rates and slow the economy or lower them and risk serious inflation
b. a situation involving such a choice <
here am I brought to a very pretty dilemma; I must commit murder or commit matrimony — George Farquhar
; broadly predicament <
lords and bailiffs were in a terrible dilemma — G. M. Trevelyan
3. a. a problem involving a difficult choice <
the dilemma of “liberty versus order” — J. M. Burns
b. a difficult or persistent problem <
unemployment…the great central dilemma of our advancing technology — August Heckscher
dilemmatic adjective Usage: Although some commentators insist that dilemma be restricted to instances in which the alternatives to be chosen are equally unsatisfactory, their concern is misplaced; the unsatisfactoriness of the options is usually a matter of how the author presents them. What is distressing or painful about a dilemma is having to make a choice one does not want to make. The use of such adjectives as terrible, painful, and irreconcilable suggests that dilemma is losing some of its unpleasant force. There also seems to be a tendency especially in sense 3b toward applying the word to less weighty problems <
solved their goaltending dilemma — Pat Calabria

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


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 — 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… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • 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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