dilemma

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be on the horns of a dilemma

To struggle to choose between two problematic or unappealing options. 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?
See also: dilemma, horn, of, on

on the horns of a dilemma

Struggling to choose between two problematic or unappealing options. 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?
See also: dilemma, horn, of, on

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?
See also: dilemma, horn, of

on the horns of a dilemma

Fig. having to decide between two things, people, etc. Mary found herself on the horns of a dilemma. She didn't know which to choose. I make up my mind easily. I'm not on the horns of a dilemma very often.
See also: dilemma, horn, of, on

horns of a dilemma, on the

Faced with two equally undesirable alternatives. For example, I'm on the horns of a dilemma: if I sell the house now I have no place to live, but if I wait I may not get as good a price . This term was first recorded about 1600, but the idea of being caught on either one horn or the other (of an animal) was already expressed in Roman times.
See also: horn, of, on

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 dilemma

faced with a decision involving equally unfavourable alternatives.
A mid 16th-century source described a dilemma as ‘a horned argument’ (after Latin argumentum cornutum ), the idea being that if you avoided one ‘horn’ of the argument you ended up impaled on the other.
See also: dilemma, horn, of, on

(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

on the horns of a dilemma

Faced with two equally undesirable alternatives.
See also: dilemma, horn, of, on
References in periodicals archive ?
Instead, he should be thought of as creating a new rule, since a dilemmatic situation confronts him with a new circumstance, and neither of the putatively conflicting rules available beforehand was formulated with the intention of dealing with such a circumstance.
Whilst the public rhetoric of unions, employers and management has often busied cliches ('less of the old OR kind of things' versus 'the main thing is to maintain and fortify the rights of the OR'), which is understandable in a dilemmatic and evolving relation, practice has exemplified the value of combining the OR in a new role with new and devolved participatory practices.
Role strains emerge when an individual confronts expectations or she or he perceives obligations that are given equal priority, that is to say the role becomes conflicting or in extreme cases dilemmatic.
Where the situation is genuinely dilemmatic, the agent has objective reason to act on either ideal, it doesn't matter which, provided the process of selecting the favored ideal gives equal chances of success to both ideals.
The dilemmatic nature of claiming both change and stability presents participants with a problem in defining change.
Our thinking about old age is dilemmatic by nature.
There are, however, modi vivendi which make it possible to live with the paradoxical and dilemmatic conclusions he reaches.
The dilemmatic nature of seeing is constructed already with the form of the response, as is often described in discourse analytic studies (Potter & Wetherell, 1989; Billig, 1987): on a general level the teacher has been aware that drugs are familiar to pupils, at least as a topic of speech, but when it comes to concrete cases she has only suspected, she has not known for sure.
If alternatives are always comparable with respect to what matters in the choice, then no matter how conflict-ridden or dilemmatic the situation, practical reason in principle determines a justified choice.
Further, it seems critical to realize that educators and students will engage in activities and hold beliefs of a dilemmatic nature (Billig et al.
Second, it would enable them to manage better dilemmatic and paradoxical competing claims with more ethical insight and foresight, because they would be able to draw on their exposure to the nuances of public ethics.
This process of narrative (de)realization is especially complicated in historical fiction, which requires complex establishment procedures that at best produce an incomplete, dilemmatic encoding of reality.
The Self and Collective Action: Dilemmatic Identities.
One could imagine a novel, or even an opera, composed on the basis of so dilemmatic a hero.
2) As a consequence, Smith's critics have not only constructed her as an isolated and/or reactionary figure whom "even feminists have been slow to acclaim" (Spalding xv), but they have missed much of what goes on in her poetry at the level of language; their referential moves have cornered her dilemmatic, discursive playfulness within a kind of stalemate from which only a few have attempted to retrieve it.