• A situation in which a desired outcome or solution is impossible to attain because of a set of inherently contradictory rules or conditions: "I According to one dictionary. If I had to describe it in my words, I always though it was like a no-win situation. Nice question!
  • Incorrect. Catch-22: a frustrating situation in which one is trapped by contradictory regulations or conditions. Dilemma: a situation requiring a choice between equally undesirable alternatives. So much for the dictionary. My explanation: a catch-22 is an IMPOSSIBLE situation, a situation in which there IS no "successful" solution because of regulations. Example: "If I obey regulation A then I violate regulation B. If I obey regulation B then I violate regulation A." A dilemma is a situation in which all available choices are POTENTIALLY EQUALLY UNPLEASANT...but not necessarily so, and not necessarily contradictory. SO: a catch-22 is a VERY PARTICULAR TYPE of dilemma. Example of a non-catch-22 dilemma: "Bob was lost in the woods and came to a fork in the path. It was getting dark, and there was no indication which path would lead toward home." In this case, Bob has a dilemma - both paths appear to be equally unhelpful from his standpoint - but one of them might very well lead toward home, and one of them might lead AWAY from home, so there certainly is no catch-22 here.

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