the horns of a dilemma

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

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 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
References in periodicals archive ?
The Fed could be caught on the horns of a dilemma however, if the tariffs boost prices such that policymakers have to weigh rising inflation with slowing growth.
It seems that you are, once again, on the horns of a dilemma -- this time over whether to send your colt Cracksman for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly a fortnight tomorrow.
AN auctioneer is on the horns of a dilemma - over the sale of a stuffed rhinoceros head worth at least pounds 30,000 to Chinese herbalists.
SPAIN'S matadors are in town and Scotland boss Craig Levein finds himself on the horns of a dilemma.
The contradiction between Ahly's African fixture and Egypt's friendly game, which is not included in FIFA's international match calendar, left the EFA on the horns of a dilemma.
The Government was on the horns of a dilemma today over new rules for adoption agencies.
However, he remains locked in the horns of a dilemma and could ask Murray for another 24 hours to think things over with wife Jill and his family.
The National Farmers' Union in Scotland admitted the plans have left members on "the horns of a dilemma".
As the World Health Organization representative in Entebbe pointed out, many, many Ugandan wives are today caught on the horns of a dilemma. In suspecting their husbands have been, or are being, unfaithful, they know they should flee for their lives, but to whom can they turn, where can they go for refuge, on what will they live, and how will they care for their children?
ON THE HORNS OF A DILEMMA The famous Wall Street Bull statue remains patriotically defiant, as markets struggle to stabilise in the wake of last week's terrorist attack.
Caught on the horns of a dilemma, King wanted to address the weight of history (black people's anger over their degradation) without bringing down the wrath of the white city fathers in this rigidly segregated police state.
In a sense, any researcher who seeks to investigate broader processes while only studying one or two communities is caught on the horns of a dilemma. To a certain extent, Sokoll has been fortunate that this problem was resolved for him when he chose to examine the richly-documented farming community of Ardleigh in which the majority of the population was engaged in wage labour on a handful of large farms.
Granger has been diagnosed as having cancer of the mouth and admits that he is "on the horns of a dilemma", as he wrestles with the decision about whether to go through with some "invasive surgery".
And Campbell Hume was on the horns of a dilemma over his round.