quan·​da·​ry | \ ˈkwän-d(ə-)rē How to pronounce quandary (audio) \
plural quandaries

Definition of quandary

: a state of perplexity or doubt

Synonyms for quandary


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Examples of quandary in a Sentence

Williams's quandary is not unlike that faced by other urban executives who have had to wrestle with a deeply rooted power structure. The problem is especially acute for African American mayors. They are expected to serve as sentries, protecting their cities' black communities and staving off so-called white encroachment. — Jonetta Rose Barras, Washington Post, 15 June 2003 For a sticky philosophical quandary, the questions are pretty simple: am I a clerk charged with selling college degrees or am I involved in a more meaningful experience? Part of me says that no argument is more worthy of my attention. — Lynne Drury Lerych, Newsweek, 9 Apr. 2001 … the inevitable economic quandary that faces a people in the transition from slavery to freedom, and especially those who make that change amid hate and prejudice, lawlessness and ruthless competition. — W. E. B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk, 1903 The unexpected results of the test have created a quandary for researchers. I'm in a quandary about whether I should try to repair my stereo or buy a new one, even though I don't have the money to do either.
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Recent Examples on the Web How to ensure all voices have a seat at the table represents a moral quandary for the climate research community. Amy Nguyen, Forbes, 15 Oct. 2021 That’s because a photo of him became part of the public domain, unleashing a bizarre copyright quandary. Laura Blasey, Los Angeles Times, 29 Oct. 2021 The Blazers, who open the regular season next Wednesday, are somewhat caught in an interesting quandary. oregonlive, 14 Oct. 2021 Part of the quandary is that too often the wines of both countries have been regarded as too sweet for the contemporary palate, reminiscent of Blue Nun Liebfraumich. John Mariani, Forbes, 25 Sep. 2021 And Mayfield still has plenty of questions to answer about his potential, leaving the Browns in a quandary. Mike Jones, USA TODAY, 21 Oct. 2021 El Salvador’s five legitimate Constitutional Court judges, among the last bastions of their country’s democracy, were in a quandary. Anna-catherina Brigida, The Christian Science Monitor, 30 Sep. 2021 Piquero said several factors had resulted in Acevedo’s current quandary, starting with his unexpected hiring; he was picked by the mayor and bypassed the standard process. Washington Post, 1 Oct. 2021 The 49ers return from their two-week trek to the Eastern time zone with a perfect record, a quarterback quandary, a sickening injury list, and a ton of ammo for the armchair quarterbacks and second-guessers. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, 19 Sep. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'quandary.' 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 quandary

1579, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for quandary

origin unknown

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Time Traveler for quandary

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The first known use of quandary was in 1579

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Last Updated

23 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Quandary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quandary. Accessed 2 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for quandary



English Language Learners Definition of quandary

: a situation in which you are confused about what to do


quan·​da·​ry | \ ˈkwän-də-rē How to pronounce quandary (audio) , -drē \
plural quandaries

Kids Definition of quandary

: a state of doubt or confusion I was in a quandary about what to do.

More from Merriam-Webster on quandary

Nglish: Translation of quandary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of quandary for Arabic Speakers


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