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

Definition of quandary

: a state of perplexity or doubt

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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 Stressful situations could place you in a quandary. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for Oct. 12, 2020: Happy birthday Kate Walsh; Capricorn, recheck details," 13 Oct. 2020 The schedule glut across so many sports has posed an unexpected quandary for Mr. October, since Jackson is also an unabashed LeBron James fan. Marc Stein, New York Times, "LeBron James Is Mr. October This Year," 7 Oct. 2020 The quandary over whether to make wine at all under these conditions is especially acute for small wineries that don’t own vineyards or their own production facilities. Washington Post, "Wildfires force some growers to test their grapes for contamination, while others sit 2020 out," 25 Sep. 2020 According to Ridley herself on a recent Jimmy Kimmel Live appearance, the quandary of Rey's lineage went in many directions depending on the draft of the script. Nick Romano, EW.com, "Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker," 9 Sep. 2020 Saying the pandemic left her on a quandary in keeping the 800-home community of South Harbour physically engaged is an understatement. Cheryl V. Jackson, The Indianapolis Star, "'We had to come up with something': Why food trucks are popping up in your neighborhood," 4 Sep. 2020 Heather Morado is deeply preoccupied with this societal quandary. Rachel Swan, SFChronicle.com, "The first day of kindergarten means going back to preschool for some Bay Area kids," 9 Sep. 2020 Back in October 2019, as the season 2 team finished up filming, Cash spoke about the moral quandary of being a Jewish actress taking on such a role. Nick Romano, EW.com, "Aya Cash and The Boys boss unpack that shocker of a Stormfront reveal," 4 Sep. 2020 For most parents facing this quandary, the outcome is shaped by a complex array of variables: the demands of a workplace; the facts of a family's financial security; the presence of a medically high-risk loved one. Caitlin Gibson, Washington Post, "‘The most crushing, anxious parenting choice’: To return to day care or not?," 3 Sep. 2020

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

Time Traveler

The first known use of quandary was in 1579

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Statistics for quandary

Last Updated

17 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Quandary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quandary. Accessed 25 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for quandary


How to pronounce quandary (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of quandary

formal : 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.

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