Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A state of uncertainty or perplexity. synonym: predicament.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A state of difficulty or perplexity; a state of uncertainty, hesitation, or puzzlement; a pickle; a predicament.
  • To put into a quandary; bring into a state of uncertainty or difficulty.
  • To be in a difficulty or uncertainty; hesitate.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A state of difficulty or perplexity; doubt; uncertainty.
  • transitive verb obsolete To bring into a state of uncertainty, perplexity, or difficulty.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A state of not knowing what to decide; a state of difficulty or perplexity; a state of uncertainty, hesitation or puzzlement; a pickle; a predicament.
  • noun A dilemma, a difficult decision or choice.

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

  • noun state of uncertainty or perplexity especially as requiring a choice between equally unfavorable options
  • noun a situation from which extrication is difficult especially an unpleasant or trying one

Etymologies

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

[Origin unknown.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

16th century. Origin unknown; perhaps a dialectal corruption (simulating a word of Latin origin with suffix -ary) of wandreth ("evil, plight, peril, adversity, difficulty"), from Middle English wandreth, from Old Norse vandræði ("difficulty, trouble"), from vandr ("difficult, requiring pains and care").

Examples

  • The United States should encourage the Arab League to not only endorse the continuation of direct talks at this critical juncture, but also be more creative, take the initiative and change the dynamic of the negotiations regardless of how the settlement quandary is resolved.

    Alon Ben-Meir: A Paradigm Shift

  • The answer to your quandary is that you always have an “opportunity to respond” at this blog.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » A Reminder About Comments

  • The United States should encourage the Arab League to not only endorse the continuation of direct talks at this critical juncture, but also be more creative, take the initiative and change the dynamic of the negotiations regardless of how the settlement quandary is resolved.

    Alon Ben-Meir: A Paradigm Shift

  • If Larry Johnson's situation gets resolved, the quarterback quandary is successfully solved and the defense continues to improve, a fan would have reason for cautious optimism.

    Change comes for K.C., but weapons still remain

  • The easiest way to solve that quandary is to bring fantasy baseball into the world of modern statistical analysis.

    Change can set your leagues free

  • I suppose my quandary is this: James is the one applying for the visa.

    Australia: a quandary « Sven’s guide to…

  • Hapthorn's quandary is that the men of Olkney have been robbed of their wealth, looks and intelligence, possibly because of the presence of magic.

    REVIEW: The Gist Hunter and Other Stories by Matthew Hughes

  • And then we have the quandary: is this fact worth reporting in the wake of the level of anger already there?

    don't blame newsweek

  • Europe†™ s offer of petrol places Bush in quandary

    More than a tragedy — a scandal « BuzzMachine

  • Part of West Africa's quandary is that although its population belts are horizontal, with habitation densities increasing as one travels south away from the Sahara and toward the tropical abundance of the Atlantic littoral, the borders erected by European colonialists are vertical, and therefore at cross-purposes with demography and topography.

    The Coming Anarchy

Comments

New comments are temporarily disabled while we update our database.

  • Is there an adjectival form of "quandary'? Perhaps "quandrous" or "quandarous?" I seem to remember encountering the first choice somewhere, but I have not found it in an online or bound lexicon.

    April 20, 2018

  • I can find no adjectival version of quandary. To my surprise the OED reports that it can be used as a verb in the passive voice and supplies examples such as, “2007 www.rolandmc.com 23 Feb. (O.E.D. Archives) I'm seriously quandaried by the need to create and choose a MySpace name.”

    April 20, 2018