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  • Noun

conundrum

kuh-NUHN-druhm

Context
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When I found the old book filled with the unreadable code, it presented quite the conundrum or puzzle. I just couldn’t figure out the unknown and impenetrable language—it was quite the challenging conundrum. Only after five years of trying to understand this nearly impossible conundrum did I finally solve its riddle.

Quiz: What is a conundrum?

  • A task that requires a collaborative effort from many people.
  • A puzzle or mystery that people have great difficulty finding a solution to.
  • A huge challenge in the professional realm that nevertheless offers great reward.

Memory Hook
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Conundrum Nun's Convent Drum How can a nun have a drum in the convent when she is supposed to be quiet and praying all day? The conundrum of the nun's convent drum shall have to be solved by the abbess herself, who had declared that "none" have drums!

Examples
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  • It’s an environmental conundrum: As states try to meet their clean-energy goals, must endangered species pay a price? —The Christian Science Monitor
  • The controversy over Puerto Los Cabos points to an eternal conundrum in this region: how to accommodate legions of tourists whose dollars are essential to the local economy without destroying the natural beauty that draws them. —Los Angeles Times
  • Greenspan, in testimony before a Senate committee on Feb. 16, 2005, observed an anomaly in the economic figures: "For the moment, the broadly unanticipated behavior of world bond markets remains a conundrum." —The New York Times

Word Ingredients
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No ingredients are given for this word because its origin is either uncertain or unknown, a designation which is perfectly suitable for this word!

Word Theater
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Cold Mountain Inman faces a tricky conundrum.
Conundrum

Word Constellation
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Conundrum