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

Definition of quandary

: a state of perplexity or doubt

Synonyms for quandary


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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.
Recent Examples on the Web The overturn of Roe has presented a quandary for Republican candidates, said Mark Rozell, dean of George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government. Meagan Flynn, Washington Post, 29 July 2022 The allure of the lesser evil gave a group of Democratic women a fleeting moral quandary when Britt asked them to stand with her against her more extremist primary opponents. Diane Mcwhorter, CNN, 6 July 2022 Call it upheaval, call it disruption, call it a quandary, or call it a crisis. Ann Kirschner, Forbes, 11 Oct. 2021 Critics say the new law still conflicts with federal law, putting election administrators in a quandary. Mary Jo Pitzl, The Arizona Republic, 5 July 2022 The scofflaw in the next seat has always presented a quandary. New York Times, 5 July 2022 It’s about time now that various levels of government brainstormed to find a way out of the states’ financial quandary. Mimansa Verma, Quartz, 15 Apr. 2022 McCarthy understands the philosophical quandary—while also encouraging Diggs to channel the instincts that fueled his 2021 success. Jori Epstein, USA TODAY, 10 June 2022 The moral quandary recalls that faced by a scientist a century ago, Lewis Fry Richardson. Rivka Galchen, The New Yorker, 7 June 2022 See More

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.

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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Last Updated

7 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Quandary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quandary. Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for quandary


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on quandary

Nglish: Translation of quandary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of quandary for Arabic Speakers


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