on the horns of a dilemma

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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
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.

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 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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