From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishdilemmadi‧lem‧ma /dəˈlemə, daɪ-/ ●●○ noun [countable] PROBLEMa situation in which it is very difficult to decide what to do, because all the choices seem equally good or equally bad a moral dilemmain a dilemma I’m in a dilemma about this job offer. This placed Robert Kennedy in a dilemma. Many women are faced with the dilemma of choosing between work and family commitments. → be on the horns of a dilemma at horn1(6)COLLOCATIONSverbsbe in a dilemmaAfter years of recession, the company was in a dilemma over its future.face a dilemma/be faced with a dilemmaWomen may still be faced with the dilemma of choosing between jobs and families.pose/create a dilemmaThe difficult economic situation poses a dilemma for investors.put/place somebody in a dilemma His divided loyalties placed him in a dilemma.resolve/solve a dilemmaPeople often need help with resolving their dilemmas.explain your dilemma (=talk about it)He explained his dilemma to me.adjectivesa difficult/serious dilemmaHe was in a serious dilemma because neither option seemed very desirable.a terrible dilemmaShe was in a terrible dilemma because she loved both men.a moral/ethical/political etc dilemmaDoctors face a moral dilemma over how long to prolong someone's life.a personal dilemmaThe men who were on strike faced a personal dilemma over whether to return to work.a painful dilemma (=a very difficult one)She faced the painful dilemma of having to decide whether to tell the police about her son's crimes.a common/familiar dilemma (=one that a lot of people have)Deciding whether to put an elderly parent in a nursing home is a common dilemma.the central dilemma (=the main one)The prime minister's central dilemma was whether war was justified.phrasesa way out of a dilemma (=a way to solve it)There seemed to be no way out of the dilemma.a solution to a dilemma (=a way to solve it)One possible solution to the dilemma may be to divide the money equally between the brothers.
Examples from the Corpusdilemma• With a child on each opposing team, Dad was faced with a dilemma: which supporters should he sit with?• It is a common dilemma: Should you stay where you have friends and family, or take that good job in a far-away city?• Writers are debating the ethical dilemma raised by the parents who did not want their Siamese twins separated.• The first dilemma has been discussed: the managers gradually learned that their subordinates varied extensively in skill and motivation.• Snipes gives a brilliant performance as a man caught in a moral dilemma.• This happens when the employee learns to escape the personal dilemma temporarily by devoting more effort to his or her job.• But last week's global stock market slump underscores the cartel's dilemma.• I explained the dilemma to a friend.• Many single parents struggle with the dilemma of dividing time between work and children.• Peace campaigners in the 1980s, and animal-rights and environmental groups in the 1990s, faced this dilemma.• Another unforeseen dilemma which now surfaced was how to satisfy the demands of the new customers for winter-weight, or seasonal clothes.faced with ... dilemma• Governments, which are purchasers, are faced with the dilemma of safeguarding the benefits while containing the price of drugs.Origin dilemma (1500-1600) Greek “double statement”, from lemma “statement”