Meaning of “dilemma” in the English Dictionary

british dictionary

"dilemma" in British English

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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

  • We are faced with an agonizing dilemma and it seems there is no correct choice.
  • Now he has been offered the other job, which puts him in a bit of a dilemma.
  • Should he aim for approval from his parliamentary colleagues or follow the wishes of the wider public? It was a dilemma.
  • I found myself in a dilemma and really didn't know what to do for the best.
  • To my father, the situation was simple and he couldn't understand my dilemma.

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

"dilemma" in American English

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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)