What's in a Word | All Blogs


On the horns of a dilemma

By Debra Dobbins


Writers sometimes use “dilemma” as a synonym for “problem.” Breaking the word into two parts, however, reveals a more precise meaning—one used in the headline above.

“Di” is a prefix that means twice, two or double. (Examples are dipolar, disulfide, dihedral, dihybrid.) “Lemma” was a Greek word meaning a proposition, or something taken or received.

Webster’s first definition is “an argument necessitating a choice between equally unfavorable or disagreeable alternatives.”

Webster’s second definition is “any situation in which one must choose between unpleasant alternatives.” (A key word in both definitions is “between,” which is used with two, and no more, items. Use ”among” for three or more items.)

Arising from “dilemma” is the idiom “on the horns of a dilemma.” It’s a vivid way to describe the discomfort felt in making a vexing choice.

To read the full story on the Packers’ dilemma, head to 2B in today’s print edition or e-edition.

Illustration special to the Sentinel


 

COMMENTS

Please Login or Register to leave a comment.




Recent Posts
Homemade weedkiller from Julie
By Penny Stine
Monday, April 20, 2015

Make Your Own Take-Out and just BE YOU
By Julie Norman
Monday, April 20, 2015

Triple Plays Hosts Battle of the Bands for Record Store Day
By David Goe
Friday, April 17, 2015

Waiting for the seedlings to emerge
By Penny Stine
Friday, April 17, 2015

Trying to love lovage
By Penny Stine
Wednesday, April 15, 2015


TOP JOBS




THE DAILY SENTINEL
734 S. Seventh St.
Grand Junction, CO 81501
970-242-5050; M-F 8:00 - 5:00
Editions
Subscribe to print edition
E-edition
Advertisers
Advertiser Tearsheet
Information

© 2015 Grand Junction Media, Inc.
By using this site you agree to the Visitor Agreement and the Privacy Policy