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 However, last week Minor League Baseball canceled its season and now the Tigers are in a bit of a quandary: While trying to protect some of these pitchers, they are left with major-league action as the only option to further their development. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers' Casey Mize throws first bullpen session under watchful eyes," 4 July 2020 So, when China nationalized its factories in February and directed all mask production to domestic use, that left the U.S. and much of the world in a quandary. Dinah Voyles Pulver, USA TODAY, "Despite warnings, the US wasn’t prepared with masks for coronavirus. Now it’s too late.," 1 July 2020 In reality, the maldistribution of income across the races can supply a good part of the answer to this quandary. Adolph Reed Jr., The New Republic, "The Surprising Cross-Racial Saga of Modern Wealth Inequality," 29 June 2020 As Ohio figures out what to do with its hydroxychloroquine, several other states find themselves in a similar quandary. Cincinnati.com, "Ohio bought millions of hydroxychloroquine to combat coronavirus. It’s now a banned treatment," 18 June 2020 Throughout its 92-minute run time, that moral quandary proves unrelenting. Omar Sanchez, EW.com, "Joseph Gordon-Levitt has faced death on screen before, but never like in 7500," 16 June 2020 While the gameplay is satisfying, one of the true takeaways is the moral quandary. Benjamin Levin, CNN Underscored, "The Last of Us Part II left us amazed, yet despondent," 15 June 2020 The quandary is faced by authorities around the globe. Tim Darnell, ajc, "Federal flags ordered to half-staff for 3 days to honor coronavirus victims, Trump says," 22 May 2020 The plight of the tourists illustrates the quandary in which traveling Chinese citizens find themselves after the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus triggered flight and travel restrictions around the world. Rieka Rahadiana, Bloomberg.com, "Thousands of Chinese Stranded in Bali After Flight Ban," 10 May 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

13 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Quandary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quandary. Accessed 6 Aug. 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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