Catch-22 from the title of Joseph Heller's 1961 novel. In widespread use only after release of movie based on the book in 1970. The "catch" is that a bomber pilot is insane if he flies combat missions without asking to be relieved from duty, and is thus eligible to be relieved from duty. But if he asks to be relieved from duty, that means he's sane and has to keep flying.
There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.
"That's some catch, that Catch-22," he observed.
"It's the best there is," Doc Daneeka agreed.
See CATCH (Cf. catch) (n.).

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Catch-22 — ist der Titel des 1961 erschienenen ersten Romans von Joseph Heller über die Absurdität des Krieges und die Dummheit der Militär Maschinerie. Das anfangs wenig erfolgreiche Buch wurde erst durch Mundpropaganda und Weitergabe und Empfehlung des… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Catch 22 — (engl. catch „Falle“) steht für: umgangssprachlich bedeutet Catch 22 im Englischen Dilemma einen satirischen Roman von Joseph Heller aus dem Jahr 1961, siehe Catch 22 die Verfilmung des oben genannten Romans aus dem Jahr 1970 von Mike Nichols,… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Catch-22 — puede referise a: Catch 22 (novela), novela de Joseph Heller; Catch 22 (película), adaptación al cine de la novela anterior; Catch 22 (Lost), episodio de Lost; El Síndrome de Di George, también conocido como Catch 22; Véase también Catch Thirty… …   Wikipedia Español

  • catch-22 — [ˌkætʆ twenti ˈtuː] noun [uncountable] US noun [U] ► a difficult situation in which the solution to a problem is impossible because it is also the cause of the problem: »But it is a catch 22 situation you can t get people without funding, but you …   Financial and business terms

  • Catch-22 — [ˌkætʃ twentiˈtu:] n [U] [Date: 1900 2000; Origin: Catch 22 book (1961) by Joseph Heller in which such situations are described] an impossible situation that you cannot solve because you need to do one thing in order to do a second thing, but you …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • catch-22 — is a situation where conflicting rules make the desired outcome impossible. It comes from a novel by the American author Joseph Heller, in which pilots would not have to fly missions if they were mentally ill, but not wanting to fly dangerous… …   The small dictionary of idiomes

  • catch-22 — from the title of a novel by Joseph Heller (1961), is used mainly in the phrase a catch 22 situation, which strictly does not mean any dilemma or difficulty but one ‘from which there is no escape because of mutually conflicting or dependent… …   Modern English usage

  • Catch-22 — ☆ Catch 22 [kach′twen΄tē to͞o′ ] n. [from the novel Catch 22 (1961) by J. Heller] a paradox in a law, regulation, or practice that makes one a victim of its provisions no matter what one does …   English World dictionary

  • catch-22 — [ ,kætʃ twenti tu ] noun count a difficult situation that is impossible to escape from because each part of the problem must be solved first …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • catch-22 — [n] no win situation contradiction, dilemma, lose lose, paradox, quagmire; concept 532 …   New thesaurus

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”