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A phrase made popular by the book, a Catch-22 is a situation where desired solutions are impossible due to illogical rules.

It is VERY similar to the phrase: 'damned if you do, damned if you don't'.
History class was a catch-22. Either you completed hours of work or you got scolded and hurt from neglecting it. Or you had to pay for someone else to do it. There seemed to be no desirable option.
by Erin Wolf The Werewolf August 17, 2005
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9
The word Catch-22 was coined from the Joeseph Heller novel "Catch-22", a humorous satire about WWII pilots. Catch-22 is used when pilots try to get out of bombing duty. It is military law that anyone insane is allowed to be ejected from the army on honorary-leave. However, if the pilot asks to be ejected because he is insane, that shows personal concern for his own safety, and thusly he must not be insane, and connot leave. This ensured that all pilots could not get out of the military on charges of insanity. There are no other catches, just Catch-22.

Today, Cath-22 generally refers to:

1. A situation which will deal negative results no matter what choice is made.
2. The WWII book which deals with this catch and carries the same title.
3. The rock band
1. "If I leave, my parents are going to kill me, but if I don't, my girlfriend will dump me. This is a real Catch-22."
2. You should read Catch-22 by Joeseph Heller. It's very funny.
3. I just saw Catch-22 live last night!
by Gretel MK II September 01, 2005
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10
catch-22 has 3 definitions
1. A situation where both choices would have negative impacts on oneself.
2.An excellent and witty book about WWII
3.A extremely awesome ska band.
one:Dude, what a catch-22 we're in!
two:did you read that excellent book, Catch-22 yet?
Three: Sweet man! I'm going to the Catch-22 concert this april!
by Rudycan't fail March 10, 2005
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11
Illogical, but none the less trapping, set of contradictions.
(Often a commentary on bureaucracy. From Joseph Heller's Book of the same name.)

anything to do with Mads
Here are some more good examples of a Catch 22:
(To add to the ones other people have added).

A company won't hire you without experience in the field. But you can't get experience in the field if you won't be hired.

or
: You can't get to work without getting your car fixed and because can't get to work you can't make money and can't fix your car.

EDIT: And a catch-22 does NOT mean a choice with only undesirable outcomes. That's "being in a bind,". It more like "being between a rock and hard place". Nothing you can do about it. No choice, not even bad choices. Totally Stuck.

Hey Mads, thought you might look here :).
This word definitely applies to most things to do with you.
by trwood July 22, 2008
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12
New Jersey based third wave ska. Awesome.
"Catch 22 is one of the most successful NJ ska punk combos to date."
by AndrewFromSouthJersey November 29, 2004
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13
I hate school, its a Catch 22.
by Jakabones January 14, 2006
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14
A catch-22 is not a situation in which both choices lead to undesirable outcomes. That is called a lose-lose or no-win situation. A catch-22 situation CAN be a lose-lose, but it could also be a win-win or win-lose.

A catch-22 situation is one in which the solution is impossible given the cyclic nature of the premises.

The logic is as follows:

1. If X, then Y and Z
2. If Y, then not Z
3. Not Y or not Z
4. Not Y and Z
5. Therefore, not X.

Many people use this logical terminology as commonplace vernacular while using it incorrectly and not understanding the origin.
1. If a person is excused from flying, that must be because he is both insane and requests an evaluation.
2. If a person is insane (I), he should not realize that he is, and would have no reason to request an evaluation.
3. Since an insane person would not request an evaluation, it follows that all people must either not be insane, or not request an evaluation.
4. Since all people must either not be insane, or not request an evaluation, it follows that no person is both insane and requests an evaluation.
5. Since a person may be excused from flying only if he is both insane and requests an evaluation, but no person can be both insane and request an evaluation, it (therefore) follows that no person can be excused from flying.

This is the logical argument and substituted form of a Catch-22.
by LuxAndUmbra February 28, 2011
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