quan·da·ry | \ˈkwän-d(ə-)rē \
plural quandaries

Definition of quandary 

: a state of perplexity or doubt

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Synonyms for quandary


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

But many of its inhabitants have begun to leave, and those who remain face an existential quandary: with their fleet’s original purpose fulfilled, what comes next? Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "12 fantastic science fiction and fantasy novels that you should check out this July," 1 July 2018 Quincy the Queensland koala has been equipped with the latest blood sugar monitor, hopefully quelling a quandary for the diabetic marsupial. Bradley J. Fikes, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Quincy the San Diego Zoo's diabetic koala, gets help from Dexcom," 25 June 2018 In part, that’s because Maine was vexed by a fundamental quandary: who owned rockweed anyway? Ben Goldfarb, Smithsonian, "How Seaweed Connects Us All," 31 May 2018 The plot hurled its protagonists through a series of trick doors and racial quandaries, some with more payoff than others, building to a campus Halloween party that involved blackface and a near-fatal police encounter. Jason Parham, WIRED, "Dear White People, The Rachel Divide, and the Hard Questions of Identity," 4 May 2018 Long meditations on the ethical quandaries that their situation presents surely do little to alleviate their pain. Dylan Scott, Vox, "What we can learn from the heartbreaking Alfie Evans case — and what we can’t," 27 Apr. 2018 The quandary faced by Chylinski and others: How does a game predicated on separating hitters from pitchers account for a player who can do both? Washington Post, "The Ohtani Dilemma: Can fantasy accommodate a 2-way star?," 26 Mar. 2018 Democrats’ quandary for the current presidential cycle is tougher than either of those. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Dems start to get serious about 2020," 1 June 2018 For Republicans, the Democratic quandary is welcome news. NBC News, "How California's primary system could lock out Democrats," 3 June 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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Learn More about quandary

Phrases Related to quandary

in a quandary

Statistics for quandary

Last Updated

14 Oct 2018

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

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


quan·da·ry | \ˈkwän-də-rē, -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).


lying above or upon

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