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Date: Nov 27 2008


1. Quote - Listen to the quote and guess what the slang means.

“I have sacrificed real life to be a celebrity and to give this art to people. It’s great, but it’s definitely a catch-22.”
- Rapper Kanye West on the challenges of being rich and famous.


1. Definition - Study the definition.

a problem with no good solution; when you need to have done something already in order to do it

2. Use - Learn how the slang is used.

Poor Kanye West. It’s so hard being a celebrity. He has to drive all those fancy cars, wear all those expensive clothes, travel all over the world…

Hmm…that doesn’t seem so bad. But Kanye says that being a famous musician means he can’t have a normal, “real” life. At the same time, if he wanted a normal life, he’d have to sacrifice his music. He’s stuck in a no-win situation, a catch-22.

One meaning of the verb “to catch” is to trick or trap. So a catch-22 is a special kind of trap. One that involves a problem in your life that doesn’t have a simple, clear solution.

More often than not, a catch-22 refers to a situation in which it’s impossible to get the things without having them. Applying for jobs can be a catch-22. You can’t get a job without experience, but you can’t get experience without getting a job.

Joseph Heller invented the term catch-22 in his novel of the same name. The story is about about World War II soldiers who encounter frustrating situations. For instance, any soldier who is a crazy doesn’t have to fight. All you have to do is ask. But if you’re sane enough to ask, you’re considered sane enough to fight.


1. Examples - Hear some example sentences.

“Trying to find work when you’re young is a catch-22. You can’t get hired for a job without experience, but you can’t get experience unless you have a job!”

“The comedian Groucho Marx gave a perfect example of a catch-22 when he coined the famous phrase, “I don’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as a member!””


1. Winners - See who guessed the slang definition correctly.

Ayumisky A situation in which a desired outcome or solution is impossible to attain because of a set of inherently illogical rules or conditions。
by Ayumisky
永恒破灭者 a problem with no good solution
by 永恒破灭者
A person, who lives in paradox situation
by felica_stelo
najafi a situation in which you can not do one thing until you do another thing,but you cannot do that until you have done the first thing,with the result that you can do neither thing.
by najafi
A catch-22 is a term that was taken from a WW2 novel. It is an issue that has no good resolution. An example would be a fight. If a big unfriendly nation attacks a small friendly nation it would be a catch-22. If you do nothing the small nation gets taken over. If you fight for the small nation then you yourself ends up in a war. There is no good clear answer. What Conway is saying is that his music has brought him money and fame but he has lost his private life. So stay poor and have a normal life or rich without a normal life. For him he is saying there is no perfect answer.
by Natashechka
jane1987 difficulties that can not be dealt with
by jane1987
Sezai A paradox in which the attempt to escape makes escape impossible
by Sezai
nooonaaa the results of an action which make us impossible to participate in it
by nooonaaa
kacem17413 I think it's a situation in which a desired outcome or solution is impossible to attain.
by kacem17413
Totto a challenge or frustrating,trapped condition
by Totto
lalobrown A tricky or disadvantageous condition
by lalobrown
Shirin2U I think its a difficult situation... if he didn't sacrificed his real life he couldn't become a celebrity so first he had to sacrifice then he can offer his art.
by Shirin2U
majid_jjs A situation in which a desired outcome or solution is impossible to attain because of a set of inherently illogical rules or conditions
by majid_jjs

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Log in to Comment


Costa Rica

sound weird


10:51 PM Sep 26 2009 |

Gil Dias



01:39 AM Apr 23 2009 |



oh,it is too hard be a man!

01:42 PM Dec 03 2008 |


United States


02:55 PM Dec 02 2008 |



It seems that some celebrities enjoy being surrounded by crowd.It is said in this way a perpson’s vanity can be greatly satisfied.

10:26 AM Nov 29 2008 |




I meet me in a tipical “catch-22” situation…I can’t sell my car and pay the English course in Ireland! hahaha!

12:58 PM Nov 28 2008 |




I’ve never heard this expression before.

11:44 PM Nov 27 2008 |




I think all life is catch-22, don’t you think?

07:17 PM Nov 27 2008 |


Saudi Arabia

no Comment

04:36 PM Nov 27 2008 |




First of all, I didn’t like this lesson because there is no video, audio file and hyperlinks for the new words. By the way, Ayumisky why you copied and posted Majid’s message, it is a shame on you, you need to send your own words. I don’t want to see this kind of situations again, OK?

03:34 PM Nov 27 2008 |




Can I say “The global recession is a catch-22 and every government still have no clue to deal with it”?

11:11 AM Nov 27 2008 |

little boat


It just like the question “which is coming first between chicken and egg ?” Because
no chicken no egg ,and no egg no chicken too .

08:12 AM Nov 27 2008 |

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