no-win situation, a(redirected from a 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.
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.
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.
no-win situation, a
A condition in which none can benefit or succeed; an impasse. Originating in America about 1960, presumably it originally referred to such a military situation and was soon extended to other kinds of hostile encounter. A 1962 article in The Economist stated, “He recommended an agreement . . . a ‘no-win’ approach, in fact, ‘an accommodation with tyranny.’”