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

For Republicans, the Democratic quandary is welcome news. NBC News, "How California's primary system could lock out Democrats," 3 June 2018 The quandary is that where the Ravens are picking in the first round is probably too early to take a tight end from a value standpoint. Jeff Zrebiec, baltimoresun.com, "As draft nears, Ozzie Newsome and Ravens front office prepared to answer myriad questions," 23 Apr. 2018 And while McKinsey was cleared of wrongdoing, the experience helped steer the company away from government work, avoiding the publicity, the ethical quandaries and the generally lower fees that came with public contracts. New York Times, "How McKinsey Lost Its Way in South Africa," 26 June 2018 Robert Bolt’s classic bio-drama offers even more intrigue, moral quandaries and emotional nuance than its Oscar-winning 1966 film adaptation. Philip Brandes, latimes.com, "The 99-Seat Beat: Are we ready for some plays about moral responsibility?," 16 Mar. 2018 The agency Azar runs finds itself in a quandary after Trump abruptly reversed course yesterday on an immigration crackdown that resulted in thousands of children being separated from their parents and placed in shelters run by ORR. Washington Post, "The Health 202: Azar: We need to get migrant children out of HHS care as 'expeditiously' as possible," 21 June 2018 The pause in brinkmanship reflects the quandary now facing Beijing. Jim Puzzanghera, latimes.com, "After Trump's new tariff threat, China may either have to blink or widen the trade war," 11 July 2018 The situation echoes similar quandaries that have roiled social media sites in recent years. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "Amazon Sold Books, Backpacks, and Toys Promoting Hate to Kids, Report Shows," 7 July 2018 The quandary affects a host of overseas players who make the move to MLS during the winter. Sam Mcdowell, kansascity, "It’s been a taxing year for Johnny Russell. Sporting KC should proceed with caution," 6 July 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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Phrases Related to quandary

in a quandary

Statistics for quandary

Last Updated

16 Sep 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

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the setting in which something occurs

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