Definitions

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

  • n. A situation, especially an unpleasant, troublesome, or trying one, from which extrication is difficult. See Usage Note at dilemma.
  • n. Logic One of the basic states or classifications described by Aristotle into which all things can be placed; a category.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A definite class, state or condition.
  • n. An unfortunate or trying position or condition; a tight spot.
  • n. That which is predicated; a category.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A class or kind described by any definite marks; hence, condition; particular situation or state; especially, an unfortunate or trying position or condition.
  • n. See Category.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. That which is predicated; specifically, in the Aristotelian philos., one of the ten categories. See category, 1.
  • n. A definite class, state, or condition.
  • n. A dangerous or trying situation; an unpleasant position.
  • n. Synonyms Position, plight, case.

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

  • n. a situation from which extrication is difficult especially an unpleasant or trying one

Etymologies

Middle English, class, category, from Old French, from Late Latin praedicāmentum (translation of Greek katēgoriā, from katēgoreuein, to speak against, signify, predicate), from Latin praedicāre, to proclaim publicly, predicate; see preach.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French, from Late Latin praedicamentum ("that which is predicated, a predicament, category, Medieval Latin also a preaching, discourse"), from Latin praedicare ("to declare, proclaim, predicate"); see predicate. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • This time the predicament is a different one and knives are being sharpened.

    Archive 2008-06-01

  • This could have been a great way to give some background metaphor characterization to Emma, but alas, her predicament is never fully explained beyond that; it's only mentioned that she has experienced loss.

    REVIEW: The Hotel Under the Sand by Kage Baker

  • At the core of Joanna's predicament is a conflict of values, inherent in the affair itself, not just in its resolution.

    Esther Perel: An Affair To Remember: What Happens In Couples After Someone Cheats? Part Two

  • Their predicament is unfortunate, since there are many emerging Internet and Web 2.0 legal technologies that can save law offices time and money by increasing efficiency and reducing costs, including:

    Sui Generis--a New York law blog

  • The plight of people who have exhausted all 99 weeks of unemployment insurance available in some states -- the "99ers" -- has received some attention from Congress and the media, but mostly their predicament is regarded as an intractable and pitiful part of a bigger problem.

    99ers: How Many People Have Run Out Of Unemployment Benefits?

  • Making the most of its impressive single location (freezing Utah as opposed to heated Hollywood) the premise lurches from "Open Water with snow" to "Jaws with wolves" with impressively gripping results; we know enough about the characters to care when they get hurt, and their chilly predicament is just on the right side of believable.

    Mark Kermode's DVD round-up

  • This teenage predicament is not unfamiliar in my memory and I think, based on no evidence at all, that the male takes longer to get to shades of grey.

    More Honest Scrapping « Tales from the Reading Room

  • Because the only person Moss has to blame for his current predicament is himself.

    One word: Wow

  • I generally agree with the recently expressed sentiments that Clinton has run a poor campaign overall, and that her current predicament is a product of faulty assumptions and a fundamental misreading of the political landscape over the last year or more.

    Barack Gets Rocked - Real Clear Politics – TIME.com

  • Even though events play out like they have to (that's the predicatble part), Hector's predicament is still fascinating to roll around in your head.

    MOVIE REVIEW: Timecrimes Directed by Nacho Vigalongo

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