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catch–22

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noun \-ˌtwen-tē-ˈtü\

Simple Definition of catch–22

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

Full Definition of catch–22

plural catch–22's or catch–22s

  1. 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. 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. 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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