situation


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defuse (something)

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!
See also: situation, sticky

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!
See also: situation, sticky

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!
See also: situation, sticky

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.
See also: wangle, way

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.
See also: and, chicken, egg, situation

no-win 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.
See also: situation

make the best of a bad situation

To deal with and create the best possible outcome of a bad, unfortunate, or unpleasant situation or set of circumstances. I know this data entry job isn't what you wanted for a career, but for the time being try and make the best of a bad situation. We weren't expecting to have to share our timeshare with others, but there's nothing we can do about it now, so we'd better make the best of a bad situation.
See also: bad, make, of, situation

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.
See also: 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.
See also: of, reality, situation

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.

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]
See also: situation

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.

a ˌchicken-and-ˈegg situation

a situation in which you do not know which of two connected events is the cause of the other: Is she unhappy because she gets into debt, or does she get into debt because she’s unhappy? I suppose it’s a chicken-and-egg situation.This comes from the question ‘Which came first — the chicken or the egg?’.
See also: situation

save the ˈday/situˈation

do something that changes probable failure into success: Jones saved the day for England with a last-minute goal.
See also: save, situation

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.

no-win situation

n. a situation in which there is no hope of success. I find myself in a no-win situation again.
See also: situation

situation

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.
References in classic literature ?
In this situation we concluded to maintain our garrison, if possible.
In this situation the articles were formally agreed to, and signed; and the Indians told us it was customary with them, on such occasions, for two Indians to shake hands with every white-man in the treaty, as an evidence of entire friendship.
When the enemy saw our proceedings, having greatly the advantage of us in situation, they formed the line of battle, represented in the map, from one bend of Licking to the other, about a mile from the Blue Licks.
The plays are light and amusing transcripts from life, for the most part, and where at times they deepen into powerful situations, or express strong emotions, they do so with persons so little different from the average of our acquaintance that we do not remember just who the persons are.
Meantime, I searched, with great interest, the advertising columns of the newspapers, and wrote answers to every 'Wanted a Governess' that appeared at all eligible; but all my letters, as well as the replies, when I got any, were dutifully shown to my mother; and she, to my chagrin, made me reject the situations one after another: these were low people, these were too exacting in their demands, and these too niggardly in their remuneration.
The case, it seems, was this: Mrs Fitzpatrick wisely considered that the virtue of a young lady is, in the world, in the same situation with a poor hare, which is certain, whenever it ventures abroad, to meet its enemies; for it can hardly meet any other.
She begged her, for heaven's sake, to take care of herself, and to consider in how dangerous a situation she stood; adding, she hoped some method would be found of reconciling her to her husband.
The Law of Effect is that: Of several responses made to the same situation, those which are accompanied or closely followed by satisfaction to the animal will, other things being equal, be more firmly connected with the situation, so that, when it recurs, they will be more likely to recur; those which are accompanied or closely followed by discomfort to the animal will, other things being equal, have their connections with that situation weakened, so that, when it recurs, they will be less likely to occur.
The Law of Exercise is that: Any response to a situation will, other things being equal, be more strongly connected with the situation in proportion to the number of times it has been connected with that situation and to the average vigour and duration of the connections.
That's the point of the whole situation," he reflected.
My situation, aggravated by the sense of my own miserable weakness and forgetfulness of myself, now too late awakened in me, was becoming intolerable.
whether you have any reason to be discontented with your present situation.
Pickwick was so extreme, that they might have remained in exactly the same relative situations until the suspended animation of the lady was restored, had it not been for a most beautiful and touching expression of filial affection on the part of her youthful son.
Deane, he knew, had been very poor once; he did not want to save money slowly and retire on a moderate fortune like his uncle Glegg, but he would be like his uncle Deane--get a situation in some great house of business and rise fast.
I want to get a situation, uncle, so that I may earn some money," said Tom, who never fell into circumlocution.