"Catch-22" means a trap created by mutually frustrating regulations. It was coined by Joseph Heller in his 1961 novel _Catch-22_, which satirized military illogic. From the novel: Yossarian looked at him soberly and tried another approach. "Is Orr crazy?" "He sure is," Doc Daneeka said. "Can you ground him?" "I sure can. But first he has to ask me to. That's part of the rule." [...] "And then you can ground him?" Yossarian asked. "No. Then I can't ground him." "You mean there's a catch?" "Sure there's a catch," Doc Daneeka replied. "Catch-22. Anyone who wants to get out of combat duty isn't really crazy." [...] Yossarian [...] let out a respectful whistle. "That's some catch, that Catch-22," he observed. "It's the best there is," Doc Daneeka agreed. Later in the novel, Yossarian visits a former brothel from which soldiers have chased away all the prostitutes. Yossarian asks why. "No reason," wailed the old woman. "No reason." "What right did they have?" "Catch-22. [...] Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing. [...] What does it mean, Catch-22? What is Catch-22?" "Didn't they show it to you?" Yossarian demanded, stamping about in anger and distress. "Didn't you even make them read it?" "They don't have to show us Catch-22," the old woman answered. "The law says they don't have to." "What law says they don't have to?" "Catch-22." [...] Yossarian [...] strode out of the apartment, cursing Catch-22 vehemently as he descended the stairs, even though he knew there was no such thing. Catch-22 did not exist, he was positive of that, but it made no difference. What did matter was that everyone thought it existed, and that was much worse, for there was no object or text to ridicule or refute [...]. It is not logical for "Catch-22" to be hyphenated; other such expressions in English normally are not. But that's the way Heller did it. Heller originally planned to title the novel _Catch-18_, but changed it because of Leon Uris's 1961 novel _Mila 18_.
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