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On the horns of a dilemma

Posted by Bob on November 29, 1999

In Reply to: On the horns of a dilemma posted by Steve Hausz on November 29, 1999

: I see this listed in the phrase finder, but no explanation as to its meaning or origin. The visual reference seems pretty clear, but who thunk it up? Any ideas?

Originally, and very strictly, one was faced with two lemmas, two proven axioms, leaving you with an unpleasant choice. The source is Greek, and probably the easy association with two horns of a bull made this a figure of speech centuries ago. First English use? I don't have a clue. The word has become trivialized, and is now frequently applied to minor matters of choice.

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