Catch 22: What Does the Interesting Term “Catch 22” Mean?

Last Updated on March 28, 2020

You may have heard the term catch 22 being used in many conversations but what is the meaning of this term? In this article, we are going to take a look at the meaning of this term as well as finding out where it first came from. We are also going to take a look at some examples of the phrase being used in order to gain a better knowledge of how it functions.

Catch 22

Catch 22 Meaning

The idiomatic term catch 22 refers to a situation where the person cannot win or where there will be an undesired consequence no matter what action is taken.

Origin of this useful term

The origin of the term catch 22 comes from a novel written in the 1960’s of the same name. In the story, the term catch 22 refers to a military operation.

“Catch 22” Examples

Example Sentences

We are now going to take a look at some examples of how the term catch 22 might work within a sentence.

The first example is one being said by a father about his daughter.

  • She wants to stay over at her boyfriend’s house but if I say no, she will go anyway but if I say yes, I will be agreeing to something I’m not happy with. I cannot win.

The next statement is being said in a news article.

  • The troops were in a catch 22, the same outcome would occur no matter what they did.

Conversation Examples

There are a variety of different conversations in which the term catch 22 might be heard. We are now going to take a look at some examples of things you might hear.

The first conversation is taking place in the workplace.

  • Person 1; “The boss is going to kill me.”
  • Person 2; “Why?”
  • Person 1; “I have lost the file. If I own up, he will fire me but if I don’t and he finds out anyway, he will fire me.”
  • Person 2; “You’re in a catch 22 there, my friend.”

The next conversation is taking place between two friends.”

  • Person 1; “Are you going to the wedding this weekend?”
  • Person 2; “I want to but my ex will be there.”
  • Person 1; “Why is that a problem?”
  • Person 2; “She wants me back, if she sees me she won’t leave me alone but if I don’t go she will come and find me as she knows I was invited.”
  • Person 1; “That’s a real catch 22.”

Other Ways to Say the Idiom

There are other ways in which you might express the meaning of the term catch 22, let’s take a look at these now.

  • An unwinnable situation
  • A tricky decision

Catch 22 Meaning | Image

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