catch-22 situation - definition and synonyms

noun [countable] 

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/ˌkætʃ twentiˈtuː ˌsɪtʃueɪʃ(ə)n/
singularcatch-22 situation
pluralcatch-22 situations
  1. a set of problems that is impossible to escape from because each problem must be solved first before you can solve any of the others
Word story
From the title of a novel by the US writer Joseph Heller, first published in 1962. The novel is about a group of people in the US air force who find themselves in a number of funny situations caused by silly military rules.