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To settle, calm, or make less dangerous an extremely tense, hostile, or volatile situation. Likened to removing the fuse from or otherwise disabling a bomb. The shouting match between the two employees was getting increasingly aggressive, so the boss was brought in to defuse the situation. A special United Nations envoy was sent to defuse the conflict between the warring sects.
be in a sticky situation
To be in the midst of or dealing with a particularly awkward, embarrassing, precarious, or difficult situation or circumstance. I knew I was in a sticky situation when the boss saw me kissing his daughter at the movies. I'll be in quite a sticky situation if I arrive at the train station and don't have enough money for the tickets!
in a sticky situation
In the midst of a particularly awkward, embarrassing, precarious, or difficult situation or circumstance. I found myself in a bit of a sticky situation when the boss saw me kissing his daughter at the movies. I'll be in quite a sticky situation if I arrive at the train station and don't have enough money for the tickets!
a sticky situation
A particularly awkward, embarrassing, precarious, or difficult situation or circumstance. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. I found myself in a bit of a sticky situation when the boss saw me kissing his daughter at the movies. I'll be in quite a sticky situation if I arrive at the train station and don't have enough money for the tickets!
wangle (one's) way into (someplace or some situation)
To succeed in entering some location or situation by tricky, clever, or persuasive means. I didn't think we'd be able to do it, but after Rajesh talked to the bouncer, we were able to wangle our way into the night club. I've been trying to wangle my way into the honors course at Harvard all year, but so far, nothing has helped.
wangle someone into (someplace or some situation)
To succeed in getting someone into some location or situation by tricky, clever, or persuasive means. It turned out that Rajesh knew the bouncer at the club, so he was able to wangle us into the place even though we weren't on the guest list. I don't know how I let Jeff wangle me into looking after his dogs this weekend—I don't even like dogs!
See also: wangle
chicken and egg situation
A situation in which it is unknown what happened, or what needs to happen, first. You need experience to get a job, but you need a job to get experience. It's a chicken and egg situation.
A problem that has no ideal solution. In this day and age, most political candidates find themselves in a no-win situation when it comes to pleasing all of their constituents. If I leave for work now, I'm going to be stuck sitting in traffic, and if I wait until the traffic clears, I'm going to be late. It's a no-win situation.
a situation where there is no correct or satisfactory solution. The general was too weak to fight and too proud to surrender. It was a no-win situation. The huge dog my father gave us as a gift eats too much. If we get rid of the dog, my father will be insulted. If we keep it, we will go broke buying food for it. This is a classic no-win situation.
reality of the situation
the truth or actuality of the situation; the way the situation really is. The reality of the situation is that we must act right now. Let's face the reality of the situation and go out and get jobs so we can pay our bills.
make the best of a bad situation
to do as well as possible under conditions that are not satisfactory The only way to survive being jailed is to make the best of a bad situation.
a no-win situation
a condition in which all possible results are bad for the people involved If she doesn't do anything, the North Side will be unhappy, and if she does do something, the South Side will be unhappy. Either way she's in a no-win situation.
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 chicken and egg situation
a situation in which it is impossible to say which of two things existed first and which caused the other It's a chicken and egg situation - I don't know whether I was bad at the sciences because I wasn't interested in them or not interested in them and therefore not good at them.
a no-win situation
a difficult situation in which whatever happens the result will be bad for the people involved I'm in a no-win situation here. Whatever I do, I'm going to annoy someone. (American)See a no-win situation
A situation certain to end in failure or disappointment, as in If the in-laws visit them or they visit the in-laws, either way they see it as a no-win situation . [c. 1960]
n. a situation in which there is no hope of success. I find myself in a no-win situation again.
n. an event, crime, or suspicious happening that warrants investigation or action by the police. (Law enforcement.) We have a situation out on 114 Maple Street. See the man.