"state of great difficulty or perplexity," 1570s, a word of unknown origin and even the pronunciation is unsettled in old dictionaries (it seems to have been originally accented on the second syllable). Perhaps it is a quasi-Latinism based on Latin quando "when? at what time?; at the time that, inasmuch," pronominal adverb of time, related to qui "who" (from PIE root *kwo-, stem of relative and interrogative pronouns).
updated on February 25, 2021