double bind

noun

: a psychological predicament in which a person receives from a single source conflicting messages that allow no appropriate response to be made
broadly : dilemma sense 1

Examples of double bind in a Sentence

the double bind faced by every politician: responding to scurrilous charges only gives them unwarranted publicity; not responding to such charges is often interpreted as an admission of guilt
Recent Examples on the Web When a person’s in a double bind, they’re confronted with two irreconcilable demands and feel set-up to fail. Talia Milgrom-Elcott, Forbes, 12 Feb. 2024 With such arguments looming, tour operators find themselves in a double bind. Natalie B. Compton, Sofia Andrade, Hannah Sampson, Gabe Hiatt, Reshma Kirpalani, Andrea Sachs, The Washington Post, Anchorage Daily News, 18 Aug. 2023 The animal folk of Hollywood are finding themselves in a double bind. Maura Judkis, Washington Post, 8 Aug. 2023 Hindutva puts religious minorities in India in an impossible double bind. Supriya Gandhi, Foreign Affairs, 13 July 2020 This puts female entrepreneurs in a double bind. Kim Elsesser, Forbes, 6 June 2022 Demonstrating one cat’s double bind. Peggy Landsman, Scientific American, 21 Mar. 2022 What a double bind! Ginny Whitelaw, Forbes, 3 Mar. 2021 Women may have to navigate the double bind and likeability conundrum and its associated backlash. Palena Neale, Forbes, 26 Oct. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'double bind.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1956, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of double bind was in 1956

Dictionary Entries Near double bind

Cite this Entry

“Double bind.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/double%20bind. Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

Medical Definition

double bind

noun
dou·​ble bind ˈdəb-əl-ˈbīnd How to pronounce double bind (audio)
: a psychological predicament in which a person receives from a single source conflicting messages that allow no appropriate response to be made
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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