Mobile Banner


a tough situation


quandary = die Zwickmühle, das Dilemma (eine Situation in der es sehr schwierig ist, zu entscheiden, was zu tun ist)



“EU in QUANDARY over Oil Embargo against Russia”

Harald Schultz — Press release, IFO Institute (22nd April 2022)

“Should fans boycott this World Cup? Our readers debate a moral QUANDARY”

Paul Campbell — The Guardian (17th November 2022)

Did you


- a situation that requires a choice between options that are or seem equally unfavorable or unsatisfactory

- difficulty or perplexity; doubt; uncertainty

Free Dictionary / Webster's Revised Dictionary


The word “quandary” first appeared in the 16th century. It’s origin is unknown; perhaps a dialectal corruption (simulating a word of Latin origin with the suffix -ary) of the Middle English wandreth “evil, plight, peril, adversity, difficulty”, from Old Norse vandræði (“difficulty, trouble”).

Over time, "quandary" has come to represent a state of confusion, puzzlement, or perplexity, indicating a predicament in which one is faced with multiple options or conflicting choices, highlighting the complexity and uncertainty that can arise in decision-making processes.


A good way to navigate a quandary is through discussion with a trusted friend or colleague. In our coaching work over the years we’ve identified five different categories of quandary:

1. Interpersonal relationships

2. Career-progression uncertainty

3. Stay-or-go dilemmas

4. Close-to-burn-out feelings

5. Work-life balance

Visit our homepage to download our FREE, 49-point checklist to help structure your discussion:


between a rock and a hard place, bind, botheration, box, can of worms, Catch-22, cleft stick, clutch, conundrum, corner, crisis, dead end, deadlock, deep water, dilemma, distress, double-bind, double trouble, fix, hard place, hornet's nest, hot water, imbroglio, impasse, jam, knot, mess, no-win proposition (scenario, situation), no way out, one's back against the wall, perplexity, pickle, pinch, plight, predicament, quagmire, QUANDARY, sorry state, spot, squeeze, stew, sticky situation (wicket), tight corner (spot, squeeze), tough choice (spot), two-edged sword, vexation

SMUGGLE OWAD into an English conversation, say something like:

"If you ever find yourself in a QUANDARY, discussion with a trusted partner can be a great comfort."

HERZLICHEN DANK to all readers helping me keep OWAD alive with single or monthly donations.

Every month, I spend evening and weekend hours with my family researching and writing your daily OWAD. It remains FREE, AD-free, and ALIVE thanks to voluntary donations from appreciative readers.

If you aren’t already, please also consider supporting us - even the equivalent of a single cup of coffee a month will help us cover mailing, site hosting, and maintenance costs. Just head over to DonorBox:

or bank transfer to Paul Smith
IBAN: DE75 7316 0000 0002 5477 40
Please use your email-address as ‘Verwendungszweck’

Thank you,

More Word Quizzes: