catch-22


catch–22

noun, often capitalized \-ˌtwen-tē-ˈtü\

: a difficult situation for which there is no easy or possible solution

plural catch–22's or catch–22s

Full Definition of CATCH-22

1
:  a problematic situation for which the only solution is denied by a circumstance inherent in the problem or by a rule <the show-business catch–22—no work unless you have an agent, no agent unless you've worked — Mary Murphy>; also :  the circumstance or rule that denies a solution
2
a :  an illogical, unreasonable, or senseless situation
b :  a measure or policy whose effect is the opposite of what was intended
c :  a situation presenting two equally undesirable alternatives
3
:  a hidden difficulty or means of entrapment :  catch

Origin of CATCH-22

from Catch-22, paradoxical rule in the novel Catch-22 (1961) by Joseph Heller
First Known Use: 1971

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