|1.||a situation in which a person is frustrated by a paradoxical rule or set of circumstances that preclude any attempt to escape from them|
|2.||a situation in which any move that a person can make will lead to trouble|
|[C20: from the title of a novel (1961) by the US writer J. Heller (1923–99)]|
|a children's mummer's parade, as on the Fourth of July, with prizes for the best costumes.|
|a calculus or concretion found in the stomach or intestines of certain animals, esp. ruminants, formerly reputed to be an effective remedy for poison.|
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.
(1961) A war novel by the American author Joseph Heller. “Catch-22” is a provision in army regulations; it stipulates that a soldier's request to be relieved from active duty can be accepted only if he is mentally unfit to fight. Any soldier, however, who has the sense to ask to be spared the horrors of war is obviously mentally sound, and therefore must stay to fight.
Note: Figuratively, a “catch-22” is any absurd arrangement that puts a person in a double bind: for example, a person can't get a job without experience, but can't get experience without a job.