pre·​dic·​a·​ment | \ pri-ˈdi-kə-mənt How to pronounce predicament (audio) , sense 1 is usually ˈpre-di-kə-\

Definition of predicament

1 : the character, status, or classification assigned by a predication specifically : category sense 1
2 : condition, state especially : a difficult, perplexing, or trying situation

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Examples of predicament in a Sentence

The captain of archers fidgeted and coughed and rolled his eyes at his men, as if such cupidity and dishonor were an inevitable but minor aspect of the human predicament — Michael Chabon, New York Times Magazine, 6 May 2007 We saw photographs that week of buildings burning, stunned onlookers, dust-covered firemen. Very few pictures conveyed the fact that people just like us, our fellow passengers on the subway, suddenly found themselves in a mortal predicament and many died horribly. — Garrison Keillor, New York Times Book Review, 3 Sept. 2006 The President found himself in the backwash of earlier deals, and the demands of secrecy made his predicament the more vexing. — Taylor Branch, Parting the Waters, 1988 The governor has gotten himself into quite a predicament. I don't know how to get out of the predicament I'm in.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The dire nature of the predicament can’t be sugarcoated. Alex Speier,, "Is it time for Red Sox starters to become rovers again?," 16 Aug. 2019 Matt Cubeiro, a Southern California lawyer specializing in gun cases, said he’s spoken with dozens of people in the same predicament as Stokes. Ethan Baron, The Mercury News, "Bay Area man, committed to psych ward as teen, sues to own guns," 13 Aug. 2019 Indeed, New Jersey has found itself in the same predicament as its neighbor. Tim Arango, New York Times, "Guns Without Borders: California Has Strict Gun Laws. But Not Its Neighbor Nevada.," 30 July 2019 Within two days of Alice's removal, nurse and museum volunteer Drew Timmons shared the predicament with his colleagues at the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences, who agreed to pick up her remains. Dallas News, "Medical examiner trying to identify skeleton displayed for decades at Dallas Heritage Village," 28 July 2019 People without sympathy for asylum seekers tend to ignore the historical roles of their own countries in creating the refugees’ predicaments. Sebastian Smee, Washington Post, "This D.C. exhibition should be seen by everyone concerned about the migrant crisis," 13 July 2019 Local officials attribute the current predicament to two consecutive years of drought. Anchorage Daily News, "As a major Indian city runs out of water, 9 million people pray for rain," 2 July 2019 More expensive meat, dairy What is clear about the current predicament facing Indiana farmers is how much an already-volatile market wants their corn. Alexandria Burris, Indianapolis Star, "With billions of dollars on the line, Indiana farmers scramble to get their crops planted," 10 June 2019 But Missouri is quickly exhausting its $65 million share, and other states that have not expanded Medicaid, including Kansas and North Carolina, are in a similar predicament. Abby Goodnough, New York Times, "States Are Making Progress on Opioids. Now the Money That’s Helping Them May Dry Up," 16 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'predicament.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of predicament

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for predicament

Middle English, from Late Latin praedicamentum, from praedicare — see predicate entry 2

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Statistics for predicament

Last Updated

27 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for predicament

The first known use of predicament was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for predicament



English Language Learners Definition of predicament

: a difficult or unpleasant situation


pre·​dic·​a·​ment | \ pri-ˈdi-kə-mənt How to pronounce predicament (audio) \

Kids Definition of predicament

: a bad situation

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Comments on predicament

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


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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