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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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 American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

(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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

on the horns of a dilemma

Faced with two equally undesirable alternatives.
See also: dilemma, horn, of, on
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

horns of a dilemma, on the

Faced with two equally undesirable alternatives. In Greek logic a lemma was a premise, a matter taken for granted in an argument, whereas a dilemma (a double lemma) was an either/or proposition. The Romans called this an argumentum cornutum, or “horned argument,” because one could be caught on either horn. In the sixteenth century Nicholas Udall, translator of Erasmus, turned it into a horned question: “Because that to whether of both partyes a bodye shall make a direct aunswere, he shall renne on the sharpe poyncte of a horne.” Soon thereafter it began to be called “the horns of a dilemma.”
See also: horn, of, on
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
K negotiated in the larger dilemmatic space of connecting mathematics instruction to relevant real world contexts.
My contention is that it should be reserved for dealing with dilemmatic scenarios.
For example, when researchers can successfully demonstrate that variations of emotional content giving rise to dilemmatic conflict (Greene et al.
In response to my probing question "So, do you mean your role model of a good father has a strong work ethic?" Rick replies defensively "I know that it sounds really bad." This suggests that he is aware of the dilemmatic nature of the traditionally masculinised breadwinner and its engendered work ethic (Bunting, 2005; James, 2007).
In these dilemmatic contexts, they argue, the outcomes of these policy decisions constitute security paradoxes.
There is likely to be a dilemmatic relation between the collective and institutional forms of employee participation at the corporate level such as the OR and the more recent forms of direct participation.
peoples feel their historical options in a more radical and dilemmatic
First, although moral problems are inescapable in human life (Gowans 1987), we should nevertheless aim to prevent at least the most dilemmatic kinds (Marcus, 1987; McConnell, 1987).
One judge noted the similar dilemmatic choices confronting prison officials trying to afford equal programming options to female inmates, who comprise a smaller percentage of the prison population than men, observing that "[e]quality of one variable forces inequality of the other.
This 'dilemmatic' aspect, which Robertson (27) notes, is not alleviated, diluted, or solved by framing the moral debate about genetic technologies in terms of the rhetoric of individual choice.
The dilemmatic issue regarding the lack of achievement by African-American children may conceivably be changed if equal and quality educational opportunities are provided through instruction in the classroom (Wright, 1999).
It reflects the ability to both understand and flexibly negotiate the "two-sided" and often dilemmatic aspects of local gender politics "on the spot."
The dilemmatic nature of NZ First's attempts to position themselves in the centre, but without indicating prior to the election a preference for National or Labour are summed up by British Labour politician Aneurin Bevan; "We know what happens to people who stay in the middle of the road.