A dilemma (Greek: δί-λημμα "double proposition") is a problem offering two possibilities, neither of which is practically acceptable. One in this position has been traditionally described as "being on the horns of a dilemma", neither horn being comfortable. This is sometimes more colorfully described as "Finding oneself impaled upon the horns of a dilemma", referring to the sharp points of a bull's horns, equally uncomfortable (and dangerous).

The dilemma is sometimes used as a rhetorical device, in the form "you must accept either A, or B"; here A and B would be propositions each leading to some further conclusion. Applied incorrectly, it constitutes a false dichotomy, a fallacy.

Read more about Dilemma:  Types of Dilemmas, Related Terms, Use in Logic

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Famous quotes containing the word dilemma:

    Books of natural history aim commonly to be hasty schedules, or inventories of God’s property, by some clerk. They do not in the least teach the divine view of nature, but the popular view, or rather the popular method of studying nature, and make haste to conduct the persevering pupil only into that dilemma where the professors always dwell.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

    Many women are surprised by the intensity of their maternal pull and the conflict it brings to their competing roles. This is the precise point at which many women feel the stress of the work/family dilemma most keenly. They realize that they may have a price to pay for wanting to be both professionals and mothers. They feel guilty for not being at work, and angry for being manipulated into feeling this guilt. . . . They don’t quite fit at home. They don’t quite fit at work.
    Deborah J. Swiss (20th century)

    A sympathetic person is placed in the dilemma of a swimmer among drowning men, who all catch at him, and if he give so much as a leg or a finger, they will drown him. They wish to be saved from the mischief of their vices, but not from their vices.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)