early 15c., in philosophy, "category, class; one of Aristotle's 10 categories," from Medieval Latin predicamentum, from Late Latin praedicamentum "quality, category, something predicted, that which is asserted," from Latin praedicatus, past participle of praedicare "assert, proclaim, declare publicly," from prae- "forth, before" (see pre-) + dicare "proclaim" (from PIE root *deik- "to show," also "pronounce solemnly," and see diction). Praedicamentum is a loan-translation of Greek kategoria, Aristotle's word.
The meaning "unpleasant, dangerous, or trying situation" is a particular negative use of the general sense of "a state of being, condition, situation" (1580s).
updated on October 20, 2020
Dictionary entries near predicament