To put someone in the position of having to choose between some equally desirable or undesirable options or loyalties. Used chiefly in the passive: The soldier was torn between staying on duty or going home.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.