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dilemma

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dilemma


  2  definitions  found 
 
  From  Webster's  Revised  Unabridged  Dictionary  (1913)  [web1913]: 
 
  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. 
 
  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  ?lude  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. 
 
  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. 
 
  A  strong  dilemma  in  a  desperate  case!  To  act  with 
  infamy,  or  quit  the  place  --Swift. 
 
  {Horns  of  a  dilemma},  alternatives,  each  of  which  is  equally 
  difficult  of  encountering. 
 
  From  WordNet  r  1.6  [wn]: 
 
  dilemma 
  n  :  state  of  uncertainty  or  perplexity  especially  as  requiring  a 
  choice  between  equally  unfavorable  options  [syn:  {quandary}] 




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