Definition of “dilemma” - English Dictionary

“dilemma” in English

See all translations

dilemmanoun [ C ]

uk /daɪˈlem.ə/ /dɪˈlem.ə/ us /daɪˈlem.ə/ /dɪˈlem.ə/

B2 a situation in which a difficult choice has to be made between two different things you could do:

The president is clearly in a dilemma about/over how to tackle the crisis.
She faces the dilemma of disobeying her father or losing the man she loves.
a moral/ethical dilemma

More examples

(Definition of “dilemma” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“dilemma” in American English

See all translations

dilemmanoun [ C ]

us /dɪˈlem·ə, dɑɪ-/

a situation in which a choice has to be made between possibilities that will all have results you do not want:

The dilemma was over how to protect a charming little island and at the same time allow economic development on it.

(Definition of “dilemma” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

Help us add to the Cambridge Dictionary!

These examples are from external sources. Click on the icon to tell us if any are not OK.


We face a dilemma as, on the one hand, we need to encourage businesses and on the other hand, businesses want information at little or no cost.
Here we are in a terrible dilemma.
There is a real dilemma here, because if the money goes on yet more foolish projects of marginal groups, that will be a bad thing.
The third dilemma is that we attach such importance to the development of a universal service in telecommunications that we want to seize on almost any progress.
On closer examination, fiscal distortions such as the gross overtaxation of labour clearly highlighted the dilemma of a false interpretation of the free market economy.
A dilemma then arose.
However, if we recall the revolution of 1989 for a moment we will remember that we had the same dilemma then.
However, there is always a dilemma in sending funds and resources to developing countries, to poor countries to help them develop.
However, we are equally aware that this loss of biological diversity reduces our ability to respond to climate change in particular, so we really face a difficult dilemma.
Other committee members believed that if we allowed exemptions, everyone would ask for one and there would be no directive, so there was a dilemma there.

Blogs about "dilemma"