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Catch 22also a Catch 22 situation
a situation where one thing must happen in order to cause another thing to happen, but because the first thing does not happen the second thing cannot happen
Usage notes: Catch 22 is the title of a book by Joseph Heller about the experiences of an American pilot.If you don't have a place to stay, you can't get a job and with no job, you can't get an apartment. It's a Catch 22 situation.
A no-win dilemma or paradox, similar to damned if I do, damned if I don't. For example, You can't get a job without experience, but you can't get experience unless you have a job-it's Catch-22 . The term gained currency as the title of a 1961 war novel by Joseph Heller, who referred to an Air Force rule whereby a pilot continuing to fly combat missions without asking for relief is regarded as insane, but is considered sane enough to continue flying if he does make such a request.
n. a directive that is impossible to obey without violating some other, equally important, directive. There was nothing I could do. It was a classic catch-22.