the horns of a dilemma

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the horns of a dilemma

Two problematic or unappealing options that one must choose between. I'm really on the horns of a dilemma here—do I say no to this great job opportunity, or do I accept it and move away from my family?
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the horns of a dilemma

If you are on the horns of a dilemma, you have to make a difficult choice between two alternatives. I find myself on the horns of a dilemma — whichever option I take, I'm going to disappoint someone. The police were on the horns of a dilemma. The girl appeared to be telling the truth, but it was her word against that of three officials. Note: In logic, a dilemma is a situation where an argument leads to two choices which are both undesirable. In the Middle Ages, a dilemma was traditionally represented as an animal with two horns such as a bull.
See also: dilemma, horn, of

(on) the horns of a diˈlemma

(in) a situation in which you must make a choice between things which are equally unpleasant: I’m really on the horns of a dilemma. I need the car but I can’t afford it.
See also: dilemma, horn, of
References in periodicals archive ?
HORNS OF A DILEMMA Alnwick auctioneer Jim Railton was given the go-ahead by Defra to sell the stuffed rhino''s head which fetched pounds 35,000
However, he remains locked in the horns of a dilemma and could ask Murray for another 24 hours to think things over with wife Jill and his family.
As the World Health Organization representative in Entebbe pointed out, many, many Ugandan wives are today caught on the horns of a dilemma.
Caught on the horns of a dilemma, King wanted to address the weight of history (black people's anger over their degradation) without bringing down the wrath of the white city fathers in this rigidly segregated police state.
In a sense, any researcher who seeks to investigate broader processes while only studying one or two communities is caught on the horns of a dilemma.
AN auctioneer is on the horns of a dilemma - over the sale of a stuffed rhinoceros head worth at least pounds 30,000 to Chinese herbalists.