- The definition of a catch-22 is a situation in which there is no good solution or resolution possible because of the way in which the factors of the solution relate to each other.
An example of a catch-22 is the idea that you have to have money to make money.
Origin: from the novel Catch-22 (1961) by J. Heller
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
catch-22 - Computer Definition
A paradoxical situation that has no happy ending. A popular movie with Alan Arkin in 1970, Catch-22 came from Joseph Heller's 1961 comical, yet gruesome, best-selling book about pilots in a fictitious World War II setting. The paradox was that no sane pilot would be crazy enough to want to continue flying dangerous missions. The only way a pilot would be grounded is if he were truly crazy, but if he asked to be grounded, he was then considered sane and would not be grounded. A Catch-22 with software would be trying to install a new version of the OS that conflicts with the current display driver. Although a new version of the display driver may be available for the new version of the OS, the current display driver does not allow the new OS to be installed. Sometimes, a Catch-22 is used synonymously with a "chicken-egg" dilemma (which comes first?), but it is more accurately a conundrum without a winning solution.
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Catch-22 - Cultural Definition
(1961) A war novel by the American author Joseph Heller. “Catch-22” is a provision in army regulations; it stipulates that a soldier's request to be relieved from active duty can be accepted only if he is mentally unfit to fight. Any soldier, however, who has the sense to ask to be spared the horrors of war is obviously mentally sound, and therefore must stay to fight.
- Figuratively, a “catch-22” is any absurd arrangement that puts a person in a double bind: for example, a person can't get a job without experience, but can't get experience without a job.