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conundrum


The political conundrum of national health care.
  a difficult problem — often with no clearly correct answer
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conundrum conundrums
Notes:
In classic literature, a conundrum is typically a riddle.
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Samples:
  • The political conundrum of national health care.
  • I ’ll give you a conundrum to lighten your labor: Why are bad boys like cake?
    Alcott, Louisa May  --  An Old-Fashioned Girl
  • So I lean against the counter and present the latest conundrum:
    Kathryn Stockett  --  The Help
  • Conundrum-a three-point vocab word.
    Laurie Halse Anderson  --  Speak

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  • Nick and I are currently embroiled in what I have taken to calling (to myself) the Cuckoo Clock Conundrum.
    Gillian Flynn  --  Gone Girl
  • "And therein lies the conundrum, the riddle you’ve been avoiding, because confronting the problem shakes apart the very foundation, doesn’t it?
    Rick Yancey  --  The Infinite Sea
  • He posed a major conundrum, for while I could accept the idea of a contented domestic group consisting of mated male and female and a bevy of pups, I had not yet progressed far enough into the wolf world to be able to explain, or to accept, the apparent existence of an eternal triangle.
    Farley Mowat  --  Never Cry Wolf
  • How little, after all, did I know about this urban world up beyond the Potomac, with its ethnic conundrums and complexities.
    William Styron  --  Sophie’s Choice
  • Soon, another conundrum presented itself.
    Warren St. John  --  Outcasts United
  • "We have a conundrum," said Jocelyn.
    Cassandra Clare  --  City of Lost Souls

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  • It’s a conundrum.
    Cassandra Clare  --  City of Bones
  • However, from the standpoint of the U.S. combat soldier, Ranger, SEAL, Green Beret, or whatever, those ROE represent a very serious conundrum.
    Marcus Luttrell  --  Lone Survivor
  • I sent her away, but it left behind a conundrum.
    Cassandra Clare  --  City of Fallen Angels
  • A spiritual conundrum, Langdon thought.
    Dan Brown  --  Angels & Demons
  • It’s a conundrum, all right.
    Cassandra Clare  --  City of Ashes
  • A sandwich and a cup of coffee, and then off to violin-land, where all is sweetness and delicacy and harmony, and there are no red-headed clients to vex us with their conundrums.
    Arthur Conan Doyle  --  The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
  • How I had failed to notice for two and a half days a 450-pound Bengal tiger in a lifeboat twenty-six feet long was a conundrum I would have to try to crack later, when I had more energy.
    Yann Martel  --  Life of Pi
  • To praise a woman whose attention was focused solely on family and domestic responsibilities, Milkman summons a conundrum: that without ever leaving the ground she could fly.
    Toni Morrison  --  Song of Solomon
  • A very, very small part of my head considered the interesting conundrum presented in this situation.
    Stephenie Meyer  --  Breaking Dawn
  • Then again, it was a chicken-and-egg conundrum: were they animals because they were in jail’or were they in jail because they were animals?
    Jodi Picoult  --  Nineteen Minutes
  • I believe the theme of this incomprehensible conundrum was the moon.
    Charles Dickens  --  David Copperfield
  • For all his new bliss, however, his mind was entirely focused on what had become the most important conundrum of his existence: how to assure that Katrina would survive Galbatorix’s wrath.
    Christopher Paolini  --  Eldest
  • Martin Cunningham forgot to give us his spellingbee conundrum this morning.
    James Joyce  --  Ulysses
  • The problem stems from a conundrum he’s thought through a thousand times.
    Ron Suskind  --  A Hope in the Unseen
  • When he came to explain with me upon the doctrines, I found several conundrums which I objected to, unless I might have my way a little too, and introduce some of mine.
    Benjamin Franklin  --  The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
  • He may have answered a hundred questions since I last saw him, or he may still be gnashing his teeth over the same conundrum as when I left him.
    Christopher Paolini  --  Brisingr
  • He is fond of enigmas, of conundrums, of hieroglyphics; exhibiting in his solutions of each a degree of acumen which appears to the ordinary apprehension praeternatural.
    Edgar Allan Poe  --  The Murders in the Rue Morgue
  • His Sue’s conduct was one lovely conundrum to him; he could say no more.
    Thomas Hardy  --  Jude the Obscure
  • I am making a conundrum.
    Jane Austen  --  Emma
  • "And William is dead, and my mother’s in London, and what will she be doing?" the boy asked himself, as if it were a conundrum.
    D.H. Lawrence  --  Sons and Lovers
  • Jim’s task was like a logician’s conundrum.
    Tracy Kidder  --  Mountains Beyond Mountains
  • He would spend years pondering this conundrum.
    Dave Eggers  --  Zeitoun
  • That was always the conundrum: Had I made the right choice in putting the people’s welfare even before that of my own family?
    Nelson Mandela  --  Long Walk to Freedom
  • I’d been torturing myself with these pointless circular conundrums all day.
    James Patterson  --  Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports
  • Ever since the lifting of his mental paralysis, he had been continuously circling round and round the same conundrum.
    Stieg Larsson  --  The Girl Who Played with Fire
  • This was a legal conundrum: if the sentence of death was to be carried out by hanging, then the prisoner could not be decapitated, or the sentence wasn’t fulfilled.
    Jodi Picoult  --  Change of Heart
  • Miss Volumnia, displaying in early life a pretty talent for cutting ornaments out of coloured paper, and also for singing to the guitar in the Spanish tongue, and propounding French conundrums in country houses, passed the twenty years of her existence between twenty and forty in a sufficiently agreeable manner.
    Charles Dickens  --  Bleak House
  • I must have my crotchets, And my conundrums!
    Ben Jonson  --  Volpone
  • This fresh burst of culture shock rattles the jeek out of his ethical conundrum.
    Neal Stephenson  --  Snow Crash
  • But the conundrum facing Ryan contained an element that shifted the balance in his mind.
    Ted Dekker  --  BoneMan’s Daughters
  • Here is the conundrum: by the time most people pick up a parenting book, it is far too late.
    Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner  --  Freakonomics
  • This is a conundrum easily resolved by shooting only the people on the other side, and that’s how war goes on and on.
    Mark Helprin  --  A Soldier of the Great War
  • It was an unsolvable conundrum until, at last, Eragon realized that the only way to best Murtagh was to give him what he wanted.
    Christopher Paolini  --  Inheritance
  • Ghosh was faced with a conundrum: How did one treat a soldier, an executioner, who now was engaged in treason against the Emperor?
    Abraham Verghese  --  Cutting for Stone
  • Squatted on the verandah chewing betel-nut, sighing and spitting all over the place for more than an hour, and as glum as an undertaker before he came out with that dashed conundrum.
    Joseph Conrad  --  Lord Jim
  • He was fascinated by riddles and codes and conundrums and labyrinths, by the origin of place names, by grammar, by slang, by jokes—although he never laughed at them—by anything that might mean something else.
    Mal Peet  --  Tamar
  • Chapter Three Flight to the Harbor By daylight the streets and alleyways of London were a conundrum; at night, in the middle of a rainstorm, the maze became an impossible labyrinth to the four men running for their lives from a pack of hunters that could, apparently, pursue them by smell.
    James A. Owen  --  Here, There be Dragons
  • I might reply, taking it to be a conundrum, or if I were King Pellinore, "What what, what?
    T. H. White  --  The Once and Future King
  • "It’s the Countdown Conundrum."
    Sophie Kinsella  --  Confessoins of a Shopaholic
  • It was an impossible conundrum.
    Ted Dekker  --  BoneMan’s Daughters
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Associated words [difficulty]:   conundrum [5]
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