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on the horns of a dilemma

Fig. having to decide between two things, people, etc. Mary found herself on the horns of a dilemma. She didn't know which to choose. I make up my mind easily. I'm not on the horns of a dilemma very often.
See also: dilemma, horn, of, on

on the horns of a dilemma

unable to decide between two things because either could bring bad results Nonprofit groups are often caught on the horns of a dilemma – they have to satisfy their donors, but at the same time, they need to attract new donors.
See also: dilemma, horn, of, on

be on the horns of a dilemma

to be unable to decide which of two things to do because either could have bad results How can we decide which hospital to close? We are on the horns of a dilemma.
See also: dilemma, horn, of, on

horns of a dilemma, on the

Faced with two equally undesirable alternatives. For example, I'm on the horns of a dilemma: if I sell the house now I have no place to live, but if I wait I may not get as good a price . This term was first recorded about 1600, but the idea of being caught on either one horn or the other (of an animal) was already expressed in Roman times.
See also: horn, of, on

on the horns of a dilemma

Faced with two equally undesirable alternatives.
See also: dilemma, horn, of, on
References in periodicals archive ?
No studies to date have examined which areas of the ASCA ethical standards present the most common or the most challenging dilemmas, and whether these dilemmas vary across academic level.
In doing so, they will be helped to recognize this is not an "either/or" problem to solve, but a "both/and" dilemma to manage.
The Daily Dilemma also has a section for educators to send feedback to GoodCharacter via email about their discussions, or the reactions of students.
It was expected that students' scores on the dilemma with religious content would not be significantly lower than responses to the two dilemmas with secular content, when controlling for verbal ability.
The course should end on a practical note: turn to specific ethical dilemmas encountered in military life and service.
Promoting ethical action requires open dialogue and discourse on the thorny ethical dilemmas of our time.
There is a concept we use in strategic planning that helps managers evaluate the difference between a problem and a dilemma.
When playing a leadership role, he or she provides ample opportunities to others to experience ethical dilemmas through situational training opportunities, bringing financial people together with business associates from a wide spectrum of backgrounds.
Intermittently, the discussion encourages developing a subjective ethic based on personal values and virtues, and promotes truth to this ethic as a means of resolving design dilemmas.
This time around, though, it may well turn out to be tactical concerns--war is unleashed on Americans via hijacked planes, not ICBMs--rather than moral dilemmas that turn us against the scheme.
In a light-hearted, yet thorough, review, Jones examines the law enforcement subculture, the ethical dilemmas facing law enforcement officers, and the ethical decision-making process.
This scenario--at the center of the new season's fifth episode--is one of the many spicy dilemmas cooked up by executive producer and writer Peter Lefcourt for this comic but not-so-far-from-reality series set in the cutthroat world of the Hollywood television industry.
The paper draws on previous literature to highlight the importance of articulating principals' perceptions of dilemmas in their daily lives, and identifies typologies and categories of dilemmas.
Consequently, he is forced to confront the fact that he has constructed a series of false moral dilemmas in order to conceal the true tactical dilemma of how to reconcile his desire for Jennifer with his vision of himself as a moral man.