While (I just stopped myself from saying “whilst,” even though I like it better) writing what I’ve taken to calling a “nasty-gram” at work (aka a “cease and desist”), I had the opportunity to use the word “dilemma”, formerly a source of great spelling angst to me (delimma? dilemma?).
…that is until one day I realized that “dilemma” was really “di-” (two) and “-lemma” (mathematical assumption) put together to make “dilemma,” which means (in my really fudgy definition way) “two alternatives”. Or, as Mirriam Webster would have it:
Main Entry: di·lem·ma
Pronunciation: d&-‘le-m& also dI-
Etymology: Late Latin, from Late Greek dilEmmat-, dilEmma, probably back-formation from Greek dilEmmatos involving two assumptions, from di- + lEmmat-, lEmma assumption — more at LEMMA
1 : an argument presenting two or more equally conclusive alternatives against an opponent
I love personal etymylogical breakthroughs.