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Dilemʹma

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The horns of a dilemma. “Lemma” means a thing taken for granted (Greek, lamʹbano, to take). “Dilemma” is a double lemma, a two-edged sword which strikes both ways, or a bull which will toss you whichever horn you lay hold of. A young rhetorician said to an old sophist, “Teach me to plead, and I will pay you when I gain a cause.” The master sued for payment, and the scholar pleaded, “If I gain the cause I shall not pay you, because the judge will say I am not to pay; and if I lose my cause I shall not be required to pay, according to the terms of our agreement.” To this the master replied, “Not so; if you gain your cause you must pay me according to the terms of our agreement; and if you lose your cause the judge will condemn you to pay me.”

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Dietrich
Dieu
Difference
Digest (The)
Diggings
Diggory
Digit
Dignitary (A)
Dignus Vindice Nodus (Latin)
Dii Penatēs (Latin)
Dilemma
Dilettantë (Italian)
Diligence
Diligence
Dilly (plural, Dillies)
Dim and Distant Future (The)
Dimanche (Monsieur)
Dimetæ
Dimissory
Dimity
Dinah (Aunt)