Alteration of older Fickmühle, a compound of ficken + Mühle, in which ficken is used in the archaic sense of “to slide”. The alteration was without doubt driven by the need to avoid the vulgar verb. Formally it may be due to conflation with an unattested *Zwiemühle from zwie- (“double”), as well as to association with zwicken (“to pinch”).
Zwickmühle f (genitive Zwickmühle, plural Zwickmühlen)
- (nine men's morris) double mill
- (figuratively) dilemma; Catch-22; quagmire; predicament; quandary (position in which one will suffer great disadvantage however one reacts)