Do you sometimes have a hard time determining what Christmas present to get for some family member? Like Great-Aunt Bertha who is 89 years old and seems to have everything she needs? You love her dearly and want to get her something but you just can’t figure out what would be best. That is definitely a conundrum.
A conundrum (kuh-nuhn-druhm), which is a noun, is a perplexing question. At Christmas time, the ‘what shall I give . . .’ conundrum is definitely a perplexing question. If someone unexpectedly gives you a gift and you hadn’t planned on giving that person a gift, you have a conundrum about whether or not to get a gift.
A conundrum can also be a riddle where the answer involves a pun or play on words. An example of this would be “What is black and white and read all over?” And the answer is a newspaper.
If the question is too much of a conundrum, you might want to put it in abeyance. Abeyance (uh-bey-uhns) is a noun that means to put something temporarily aside. Maybe you want to wait until you are in a quite place where you can think before you decide what gift to give Great-Aunt Bertha. So, you put the question in abeyance. You temporarily suspend your thinking about it until later. (When you figure out what to get someone like this, let me know . . . .)
Maybe at work, you put a project in abeyance until you can gather more information. You temporarily stop work on the project while gathering that information. About 4:30 p.m. on a Friday afternoon, employees seem to have a tendency to put work in abeyance. Husbands put their ‘honey-do’ lists on abeyance when Monday night football comes on.
I have also posted the fourth session for the Wordsmithie where you will find some additional words.