Buridan's ass

noun Bu·ri·dan's ass \ˈbyu̇rədənz-, -dənz-\

Definition of Buridan's ass

  1. :  a hypothetical dilemma in which a person is postulated as presented with two equally attractive and attainable alternatives and therefore loses freedom of choice

Love words? You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Join MWU now and get access to America’s largest dictionary, with:

  • 300,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

Origin and Etymology of buridan's ass

after Jean Buridan †about 1358 French philosopher, who is reputed to have posed the problem


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up Buridan's ass? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to criticize severely

Get Word of the Day daily email!