From the novel and film of the same name, an impossibly difficult choice, especially when forced onto someone. The choice is between two unbearable options, and it's essentially a no-win situation.
"Sophie's Choice" is centered on a scene in Auschwitz where Sophie has just arrived with her ten-year old son and her seven-year old daughter and a sadistic doctor, presumably Doctor Mengele, tells her that she can only bring one of her children; one will be allowed to live while the other is to be killed.

As a mother, Sophie adores both of her children and can't make this agonizing choice... until several soldiers force her and she hastily gives her daughter to them, sobbing as they take her little girl away.
by Lorelili October 15, 2009
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Sophie's choice is referring to a decision that is unbearably difficult. Each decision has consequences. Facing Sophie's choice there is no easy way out.

In the novel/movie Sophie has to choose which of her lovely children she wants to keep sending the other to gas chamber. Had she not chosen, both kids would have been executed.
Mrs. Over-Elaborate had strong feelings for Mr. Busy. But she saw how much he loves his daughter and therefore decided not to fight for his affection. She knew she could, but she chose not to and moved on.

Mr. Busy hated decisions that affects others. He had loving wife and beautiful daughter and that was the obvious choice for him. But last couple months he had some small-time windows to spend with Mrs. Over-Elaborate. Those moments with her left an inerasable print in his mind and heart. The mixture of the feelings her presence represented for him was the wildest cocktail he ever had. The understanding they both had for each other, the joy from the time they spent together, the little comments and jokes they made or simply the feeling when she or he laid a hand on him or her.

Even though he was standing in front of a decision that was far from the one Sophie had to make, none of the options made brought him peace... From a certain point of view, he was facing his own Sophie's choice.
by Mrs. Over-Elaborate September 14, 2023
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The loan hiker's arm was wedged in a crevice when he slipped and fell. He didn't have the strength to release himself. Each movement wedged his arm more deeply into the crevice. After several days without food and water, he was left with a Sophie's Choice: continue to wait for help and possibly die, or use the serrated blade of his pocket knife to cut off his own arm and climb to safety before bleeding to death.
by Pecos Pete March 28, 2008
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It is NOT a difficult choice. It's a choice between two options that will results in the destruction of the option not chosen. A difficult choice is just called a difficult choice, IT HAS NO NAME because it doesn't deserve one for the dramatic effect.
A difficult choice is do you pick lover A or lover B and leave the other one possibly mad at you. A Sophie's choice is do you pick A or B and leave the other one DEAD, completely lifeless, future distinguished, no more fun experiences, and generally a bad existence (or lack thereof).
by one correcting your slug-brain October 15, 2011
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"If I have to choose between her and Tyra, it's not exactly sophie's choice"
by Dana Mix August 18, 2003
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The unfortunate winning decision of an impossibly difficult choice between two unbearable options.
And the Sophie's Choice Award goes to......... A punch to the face! It looked for a minute like he was going to go with the baseball bat to the scrotal area.
by buster3535 July 25, 2014
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