[ kwon-duh-ree, -dree ]
/ ˈkwɒn də ri, -dri /

noun, plural quan·da·ries.

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
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British Dictionary definitions for quandary


/ (ˈkwɒndrɪ, -dərɪ) /

noun plural -ries

a situation or circumstance that presents problems difficult to solve; predicament; dilemma

Word Origin for quandary

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

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