Definition of be (or be caught) in a cleft stick in English:

be (or be caught) in a cleft stick

phrase

  • Be in a situation in which any action one takes will have adverse consequences.

    • ‘The general, adept in running with the hare and hunting with the hound, is now caught in a cleft stick.’
    • ‘Yes, but on either way it seems to me you are caught in a cleft stick.’
    • ‘They're caught in a cleft stick situation where they either face being beaten up by dealers or arrested by the police for selling drugs.’
    • ‘To the east of Bhutan, in Burma, Buddhism is caught in a cleft stick: since colonial days Buddhist monks have been involved in politics.’
    • ‘As a result, the Sri Lankan ruling class has been caught in a cleft stick.’
    • ‘But in fact the administration is in a cleft stick.’