- a situation, analogous to a dilemma, in which there are three almost equally undesirable alternatives: His trilemma consisted in not knowing whether to acknowledge receipt, deny it, or simply leave.
- Logic. a form of argument in which three choices are presented, each of which is indicated to have consequences that may be unfavorable.
Origin of trilemma
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for trilemma
But the thing is a trilemma, and the third horn, on which I elect to be placed, is surmounted by a doubly-stuffed seat.A Budget of Paradoxes, Volume II (of II)
Augustus de Morgan
Our inevitable outlook was a trilemma—either enlarged receipts, or retrenchment, or debt.
Trilemma, trī-lem′a, n. a dilemmatic syllogism with three alternative propositions.
But the dilemma (whose unfortunate inspiration he owes to Kant) does not hold, it is a case of a trilemma.Historical materialism and the economics of Karl Marx
- a quandary posed by three alternative courses of action
- an argument one of the premises of which is the disjunction of three statements from each of which the same conclusion is derived
C17: formed on the model of dilemma, from tri- + Greek lēmma assumption
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