Catch-22

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Catch-22

1. A problem, task, situation, or course of action in which the outcome or solution one desires is especially difficult or impossible to achieve due to contradictory, illogical, or paradoxical rules, regulations, or conditions. The term comes from the title of the 1961 novel by Joseph Heller, in which a fighter pilot attempts to avoid further combat missions under a statute stating that any pilot who willingly continues to fly missions is insane. However, he is thwarted by the pronouncement that if a pilot requests to stop flying, he proves his sanity by showing a concern for his own safety. The company's cost-reduction plan is a Catch-22—they need to lay off half the staff to keep the company open, but with so few people, we won't be able to complete all the work that's needed to earn enough revenue.
2. Any illogical, contradictory, or paradoxical rule or regulation, especially one that makes a desired outcome or solution impossible. The bank's overdraft policy is a Catch-22 for those trying to get out of poverty, as it charges you higher fees for having less money in your account.

Catch-22

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.

a Catch 22

A Catch 22 is an extremely frustrating situation in which one thing cannot happen until another thing has happened, but the other thing cannot happen until the first thing has happened. There's a Catch 22 in social work. You need experience to get work and you need work to get experience. Note: You can also talk about a Catch 22 situation. It's a Catch 22 situation here. Nobody wants to support you until you're successful but without the support, how can you ever be successful? Note: This expression comes from the novel `Catch 22' (1961), by the American author Joseph Heller, which is about bomber pilots in the Second World War. Their `Catch 22' situation was that any sane person would ask if they could stop flying. However, the authorities would only allow people to stop flying if they were insane.
See also: 22, catch

a catch-22 situation

a dilemma or difficulty from which there is no escape because of mutually conflicting or dependent conditions.
The classic statement of this situation is in Joseph Heller 's novel Catch-22 ( 1961 ), from which the expression is taken: ‘Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to fly them. if he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to.’
1997 New Scientist It's a catch-22 situation: you cannot get the job without having the relevant experience and you cannot get the experience without having first done the job.
See also: situation

(a) catch-22

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a catch-22 situation

(informal) a difficult situation from which there is no escape because you need to do one thing before doing a second, and you cannot do the second thing before doing the first: I can’t get a job because I haven’t got any experience, but I can’t get experience until I get a job — it’s a catch-22 situation. Catch-22 is the title of a novel by Joseph Heller, in which the main character pretends to be crazy in order to avoid dangerous situations in war. The authorities say that he cannot be crazy if he is concerned about his own safety.

catch-22

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.
References in periodicals archive ?
Catch 22 members show their delight after Andy Edwards donated pounds 500 for four new wheels
The Catch 22 Foundation was inspired by the McAllisters' experiences growing up.
Catch 22 not only reflects the situation of many characters in the novel, who are trapped in a war situation they cannot escape, but it is also a mirror image of a recurrent pattern in various social situations that are criticized throughout the novel.
Catch 22 favourite Matt Reed is MC, with top support coming from the hotly-tipped Tom Lawrinson.
As Catch 22 is opened seven days a week from noon until late, there really is no excuse for not trying this place.
Peter Vincent of promoters Ten Feet Tall, who work with Arc to bring Catch 22 to Stockton, said: "It's another cracking line-up, and we're in for a fantastic night here.
But listen, folks, forget all that nonsense about a no-win situation - one trip to Catch 22 in Glasgow will make you wonder what the hell Mr Heller was on about.
Peter Vincent of promoters Ten Feet Tall, who work with the venue to bring Catch 22 to Stockton, said: "We've got another properly storming gig here.
The latest offering from the G1 Group, Catch 22 is a seafood diner and bar.
uk | February 26 will see the Catch 22 Ale & Arty Special.
Engineers today are faced with a catch 22 situation," stated Nick Langston, product line manager for DCI.
EVER popular comedy club Catch 22 is all set for a festive flavour when it returns for its next show.
TICKETS are selling fast for the next round of popular Teesside comedy club Catch 22.
North of the Tees meanwhile, Stockton's Catch 22 Comedy Club has bagged a treble headline treat at Arc on Friday August 28.
STOCKTON'S popular Catch 22 Comedy Club has another summer sizzler lined up for the funniest Friday of the month.