a chicken and egg situation

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a chicken and egg situation

cliché A situation in which it is difficult or impossible to tell which of two things comes (or should come) first, as each one seems to cause the other to occur. A reference to the ancient paradox, "Which came first: the chicken or the egg?" A chicken is required to lay an egg, but that chicken must have hatched from an egg to begin with. You need experience to get a job, but you need a job to get experience. It's a chicken and egg situation. It is a chicken-and-egg situation for many would-be sellers—you need inventory in order to start making money, but you need money to start accumulating inventory. Did the company falter because our biggest clients left, or did our clients leave because they could sense instability within our company? For the time being it's something of a chicken and egg situation.
See also: and, chicken, egg, situation
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

chicken and egg

1. If something is a chicken and egg situation, it is impossible to decide which of two related things happened first and caused the other. The link between current global temperature and carbon-dioxide emissions is not a chicken and egg situation. Cause and effect are quite clear. It's a chicken-and-egg argument about which comes first: Do people create a neighborhood lifestyle? Or does a neighborhood environment influence how residents live?
2. If something is a chicken and egg problem, it is impossible to deal with a problem because the solution is also the cause of the problem. Until we get promotion, we won't get the top players. But until we get top players, we won't win promotion. It's a chicken and egg problem. Note: This expression comes from the unanswerable question, `Which came first, the chicken or the egg?'
See also: and, chicken, egg
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
It's a chicken and egg situation. Players who get experience have a chanceMarco Gabbiadini