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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Synonyms for quandary


catch-22, dilemma, double bind

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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

This has presented a quandary for Georgian officials. David Segal, New York Times, "A Monster to History, Stalin Is a Tourist Magnet in His Hometown," 30 June 2019 With 18,000 seats and 950 parking spaces — plus an estimated 2,000 spaces in the vicinity — the Chase Center presents a mass transit quandary for politicians and officials who otherwise eagerly await the arrival of Oakland’s team. Rachel Swan, SFChronicle.com, "Ferry service to Chase Center for Warriors games gains momentum with proposal," 19 June 2019 The case of Kim — who is Korean-born and became a legal resident of New Zealand after moving there as a teenager — poses a political quandary for the New Zealand government. Charlotte Graham-mclay, BostonGlobe.com, "New Zealand court, blocking extradition, is latest to rebuke china’s judiciary," 11 June 2019 This creates a quandary: though commercially available CBD products are not the same as Epidiolex, many are marketed as having the same amount of CBD. Elijah Wolfson, Time, "CBD Is Already Everywhere. How Will the Government Handle It?," 6 June 2019 Lawfare’s Quinta Jurecic wrote last week on this quandary. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Ex-President Trump on Trial," 18 June 2019 Social media platforms like WhatsApp and Telegram were restricted, SMS text messaging disabled, leaving banks, businesses and tech startups left in a quandary. Abdi Latif Dahir, Quartz Africa, "Ethiopia’s tech startups are ready to run the world, but the internet keeps getting blocked," 18 June 2019 This quandary has been explored in video games such as Soma and films such as Don Hertzfeldt’s World of Tomorrow. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Black Mirror: ‘Rachel, Jack, and Ashley Too’ Is a Fascinating Jumble," 5 June 2019 This quandary calls to mind the current debate around Brexit: anyone worried about the effects of immigration on his community is marginalized. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "The Mail," 25 May 2018

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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Statistics for quandary

Last Updated

8 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for quandary

The first known use of quandary was in 1579

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More Definitions for quandary



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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More from Merriam-Webster on quandary

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for quandary

Spanish Central: Translation of quandary

Nglish: Translation of quandary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of quandary for Arabic Speakers

Comments on quandary

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


to form ideas or theories about something

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