(From Greek tri-, three, and lemma, proposition)
1. A situation in which there are three possible options, all of them undesirable or implausible.
2. A situation in which, out of three desired or considered attributes, no more than two are possible together.
Examples of each sense:
(1) If Jesus said he was God, either he was lying, or he was mad, or he really was God.
(1) If the troops advanced, they were likely to be slaughtered; if they retreated, they would have to cross a swollen river and risk drowning; if they stayed put, they would soon run out of supplies.
(2) [the "Žižek trilemma"] If you are honest and intelligent, you cannot be a communist; if you are intelligent and a communist, you cannot be honest; and if you are honest and a communist, you cannot be intelligent.
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