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


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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 quandary also applies to historic houses, colonial attractions, and other slavery-era sites that functioned like plantations, but perhaps don’t look like them at first glance. Sarah Enelow-snyder, Condé Nast Traveler, 10 May 2021 But none has produced consistent enough results to solve the team’s seemingly endless quarterback quandary. Dennis Waszak Jr., courant.com, 29 Apr. 2021 That’s a quandary, though, because arguably the societal benefits are bigger than the individual ones—putting do-no-harm into conflict with harm reduction. Adam Rogers, Wired, 23 Apr. 2021 In its debut episodes, Cruel Summer twists that reality into a morally grey quandary about what happens when a young girl sees the chance to upend the identity that the world has chosen for her. Rosie Knight, refinery29.com, 20 Apr. 2021 That leaves society in a constant quandary of finding the time (and making the effort) to try and distinguish between them. Mike Masterson, Arkansas Online, 11 Apr. 2021 First Amendment rights Regulation of Pope’s message would place the city in a tricky First Amendment quandary. al, 1 Apr. 2021 But that quandary becomes all the more urgent when the person is your health care worker. New York Times, 31 Mar. 2021 That has led to a quandary for many Chicago bar and shop owners. Josh Noel, chicagotribune.com, 27 Mar. 2021

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

8 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Quandary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quandary. Accessed 17 Jun. 2021.

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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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