lemma-, lemmata-

(Greek > Latin: an assumption that is taken for granted; a premise)

Don't confuse the words in this unit with another lemmo-, lemm- lemma- unit meaning "sheath, husk".

analemma (s) (noun), analemmas (pl)
1. A scale, found on some sundials and globes, that is shaped like a figure eight and marked to indicate the declination of the sun and to allow the calculation of apparent solar time.
2. Etymology: from Latin analemma, "the pedestal of a sundial" then the sundial itself, from Greek analemma, "to take up, to support"; from analambanein, "to receive, to take up, to restore"; from
ana-, "up" + lambanein, "to take".

dilemma (di LEM uh) (s) (noun), dilemmas (pl)
1. A situation in which someone must choose one of two unsatisfactory options: Because of the bad weather, Lester and his family were in a dilemma as to when they should plan to go on their vacation.
2. In logic, a form of reasoning that, though valid, leads to two undesirable selections: When George was trying to find at least three different definitions for each of the words that he was assigned to find for his English class, his dilemma was that the three dictionaries were giving the same results without any significant variations in contents from one to the other.
3. Etymology: from Late Latin dilemma, which came from Greek dilemma, "double proposition".

This is a technical term in rhetoric, from di-, "two" + lemma, "premise, anything received or taken" from the root of lambanein, "to take".

A situation in which someone must choose between two alternatives both of which are bad.
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A choice that one must make between two undesirable actions.
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dilemma (verb), dilemmas; dilemmated; dilemmating
To make a decision that includes two possibilities neither of which is desirable: The manager of the department store was dilemmating whether to lower prices for some products and to lose profits or to accept fewer sales.

Peggy dilemmas often about whether she should spend more money for unsuccessful psychiatric treatments for her depressions or just live with her unhappiness even though it could develop into a more serious neurotic disorder.

dilemmatic (adjective), more dilemmatic, most dilemmatic
A reference to a difficult problem that is incapable of having a satisfactory solution: Susan had to make a dilemmatic decision to either fail the course she was taking at the university or to drop out and get no credit for the time she spent studying previously because didn't have the finances to support her living expenses.
dilemmatical (adjective), more dilemmatical, most dilemmatical
Relating to a problem that requires making a choice between two undesirable decisions: There was no dilemmatical condition as terrible as when a deep-sea diver received a message from his captain above, "Come up as fast as you can because the ship is sinking."
dilemmic (adjective), more dilemmic, most dilemmic
Descriptive of decisions that fleeing refugees make to escape from the dangers of bombings in their country: Many desperate people are making dilemmic conclusions that they will be killed where they are residing or die on the overcrowded boats they would be fleeing into safer countries.
lemma (s) (noun), lemmas (pl)
1. In botany: The outer or lower of two bracts surrounding, or enclosing, the flower of a grass spikelet or small spike.
2. In logic, a proposition that is assumed to be true in order to test the validity of another proposition.
3. An assumption taken for granted; something received.
4. In publishing, a heading that indicates the topic of a work or passage.
5. The argument or subject of a literary composition, prefixed as a heading or title; also, a motto appended to a picture, etc.
lemmatize (verb), lemmatizel; lemmatized; lemmatizing
To sort words as they occur in a text in order to group those together that are inflected or variant forms of the same word.
pentalemma (s) (noun), pentalemmas (pl)
An argument related to a situation involving five undesirable results.
polylemma (s) (noun), polylemmas (pl)
A complex group of deductions resembling a predicament that has many possibilities.
sesquilemma (s) (noun), sesquilemmas (pl)
A predicament in which one choice is less repugnant than another one.
tetralemma (s) (noun), tetralemmas (pl)
In logic, a position presenting four alternatives.
trilemma (s) (noun), trilemmas (pl)
A circumstance in which a choice has to be made among three possible courses of action; especially, when the options are equally unpleasant and not wanted.

World economies are in a trilemma, not just a dilemma

As the world economy struggles to recover from its various ailments, the international financial order is coming under increased scrutiny.

Currencies and exchange rates, in particular, are getting a hard look.

In thinking about these issues, the place to start is with what economists call the fundamental trilemma of international finance.

Trilemma describes a situation in which someone faces a choice among three options, each with some inevitable problems.

What is the trilemma in international finance?

The trilemma stems from the fact that in most nations, economic policy makers would like to achieve these three goals:

  • Make the country's economy open to international flows of capital.
  • Use monetary policy as a tool to help stabilize the economy.
  • Maintain stability in the currency exchange rate.

Without doubt, the financial system presents policy makers with difficult tradeoffs. Americans should not be too harsh when other nations facing the trilemma reach conclusions different from their own.

In this area of economic policy, as well as many others, there is room for reasonable nations to disagree.

—Excerpts were compiled from
"Confronting the financial trilemma of global finance"
by N. Gregory Mankiw; as seen in the International Herald Tribune
from "The Global Edition of the New York Times" Business:
July 10-11, 2010; pages 13 & 17.