Noun: A situation in which a difficult choice has to be made between two or more alternatives, esp. equally undesirable ones.
A difficult situation or problem. Synonyms: quandary – fix
1. A situation that requires a choice between options that are or seem equally unfavorable or mutually exclusive.
2. Usage Problem: A problem that seems to defy a satisfactory solution.
3. Logic: An argument that presents two alternatives, each of which has the same consequence.
Usage Note: A dilemma is a situation in which a choice must be made between alternative courses of action or argument. Although evidence attests to widespread use of the term meaning simply “problem” or “predicament” and involving no issue of choice, 58 percent of the Panel in a 1999 survey rejected the sentence: Historically, race has been the great dilemma of democracy. It is sometimes claimed that because the di- in dilemma comes from a Greek prefix meaning “two,” the word should be used only when exactly two choices are involved. Nevertheless, 64 percent of the Panel in a 1988 survey had accepted its use for choices among three or more options.

On the horns of a dilemma
Figurative: having to decide between two things, people, etc. Example: Mary found herself on the horns of a dilemma. She didn’t know which to choose. I make up my mind easily. I’m not on the horns of a dilemma very often.

On the horns of a dilemma
Meaning: unable to decide between two things because either could bring bad results. Example: Nonprofit groups are often caught on the horns of a dilemma – they have to satisfy their donors, but at the same time, they need to attract new donors.

The origin and meaning of “(Caught) on the horns of a dilemma”
The origin and meaning of “(Caught) on the horns of a dilemma” turned out to be more difficult than I had imagined. The meaning was the easier part, and the origin more difficult.
Meaning: Refers to a situation where one is confronted with making a decision based on two options, the results or consequence of either decision having equally unpleasant results. So, no matter what decision you have to take, the outcome is un-favorable.
From the 1933 print of the Oxford Shorter Dictionary, Dilemma has Greek origins. Di meaning two and lemma an assumption or a premise. According to the same source dilemma was a form of argument,(Rhetoric), in which an adversary was given the choice of usually 2, “but possibly more” alternatives equally un-favorable. The alternatives are the horns of the dilemma, either of which can cause pain.
The origin of the horns I could not determine. Most refer to the horns of a bull, and even to the devil’s horns. An example of the phrase in modern terms by Oxford: “the dilemma of a swimmer among drowning men, who all catch at him” (Page 510).

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