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[kwon-duh-ree, -dree] /ˈkwɒn də ri, -dri/
noun, plural quandaries.
a state of perplexity or uncertainty, especially as to what to do; dilemma.
Origin of quandary
1570-80; perhaps fancifully < Latin quand(ō) when + -āre infinitive suffix Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for quandary
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was his mate who relieved him from the quandary in which he found himself.

    White Fang Jack London
  • The less he teaches and insists on facts and details, the greater his quandary.

    College Teaching Paul Klapper
  • As a matter of fact, he told himself, he was in something of a quandary.

    Pagan Passions Gordon Randall Garrett
  • Had she said the Pritchards, Elsie would have been in a quandary; as it was, her face brightened.

    Elsie Marley, Honey

    Joslyn Gray
  • I confessed myself in as black a quandary as ever man experienced.

    John Splendid Neil Munro
British Dictionary definitions for quandary


/ˈkwɒndrɪ; -dərɪ/
noun (pl) -ries
a situation or circumstance that presents problems difficult to solve; predicament; dilemma
Word Origin
C16: of uncertain origin; perhaps related to Latin quandō when
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for quandary

"state of perplexity," 1570s, of unknown origin, perhaps a quasi-Latinism based on Latin quando "when? at what time?; at the time that, inasmuch," pronomial adverb of time, related to qui "who" (see who). Originally accented on the second syllable.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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