Catch 22


      • Dilemma or predicament
        To describe a situation where one is trapped in a no-win situation, where any action taken will result in negative consequences or outcomes

      • Contradictory or paradoxical situation
        To describe a situation where two or more conditions or rules contradict each other, making it impossible to satisfy or adhere to all of them

    Examples of Catch 22


      The idiom "catch 22" is often used to describe a difficult or impossible situation, where one is faced with conflicting options or rules. It conveys a sense of being trapped or stuck, with no way out.

      In the first meaning, "catch 22" is used to describe a dilemma or predicament, where any course of action will result in negative consequences. This can apply to personal or professional situations, where one is faced with difficult choices and all options seem unfavorable.

      In the second meaning, "catch 22" is used to describe a contradictory or paradoxical situation. This can refer to rules or conditions that are impossible to fulfill, making it impossible to move forward or make progress.

      Origin of "Catch 22"

      The idiom "catch 22" originated from the novel of the same name by Joseph Heller, published in 1961. In the novel, the phrase is used by a character to describe a military rule that states a pilot can only be relieved from duty if he is declared insane. However, requesting to be relieved from duty due to insanity is seen as a rational act, thus creating a paradoxical situation.

      Since then, the phrase has become a commonly used idiom to describe any situation that resembles the one described in the novel. It has also been adapted in various forms, such as "double bind" or "no-win situation." The popularity of the phrase can also be attributed to its catchy and memorable nature, making it a useful expression in everyday conversation.