Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A psychological impasse created when contradictory demands are made of an individual, such as a child or an employee, so that no matter which directive is followed, the response will be construed as incorrect.
  • n. A situation in which a person must choose between equally unsatisfactory alternatives; a punishing and inescapable dilemma.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A dilemma in which someone receives contradictory instructions and cannot act on either.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. (psychology) an unresolvable dilemma; situation in which a person receives contradictory messages from a person who is very powerful

Etymologies

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