Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A question to be considered, solved, or answered: math problems; the problem of how to arrange transportation.
  • n. A situation, matter, or person that presents perplexity or difficulty: was having problems breathing; considered the main problem to be his boss. See Usage Note at dilemma.
  • n. A misgiving, objection, or complaint: I have a problem with his cynicism.
  • adj. Difficult to deal with or control: a problem child.
  • adj. Dealing with a moral or social problem: a problem play.
  • idiom no problem Used to express confirmation of or compliance with a request.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A difficulty that has to be resolved or dealt with.
  • n. A question to be answered, schoolwork exercise.
  • n. A puzzling circumstance.
  • adj. Difficult to train or guide; unruly.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A question proposed for solution; a matter stated for examination or proof; hence, a matter difficult of solution or settlement; a doubtful case; a question involving doubt.
  • n. Anything which is required to be done; as, in geometry, to bisect a line, to draw a perpendicular; or, in algebra, to find an unknown quantity.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A question proposed for decision or discussion; a matter for examination; any question involving doubt, uncertainty, or difficulty; also, a question with a discussion of it.
  • n. Specifically In geometry, a proposition requiring some operation to be performed or construction to be executed, as to bisect a line, and the like.
  • n. In English universities, a public disputation.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a source of difficulty
  • n. a question raised for consideration or solution
  • n. a state of difficulty that needs to be resolved

Etymologies

Middle English probleme, from Old French, from Latin problēma, problēmat-, from Greek, from proballein, to throw before, put forward : pro-, before; see pro-2 + ballein, blē-, to throw.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English, from Old French, from Latin problema, from Ancient Greek πρόβλημα (problema, "anything thrown forward, hindrance, obstacle, anything projecting, a headland, promontory"), from προβάλλω (proballo, "to throw or lay something in front of someone, to put forward"), from προ- (pro-, "in front of") + βάλλω (ballo, "to throw, to cast, to hurl"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • VIEW FAVORITES yahooBuzzArticleHeadline = 'Bush and Blair, Joined at the Hip, Sinking Together'; yahooBuzzArticleSummary = '"Never in modern history has the solution to one problem resulted in the creation of so many larger problems, especially since the initial \'problem\', Saddam Hussein\'s weapons of mass destruction, turned out to be non-existent, "writes Rupert Cornwell in London\'s The Independent. '

    OpEdNews - Quicklink: Bush and Blair, Joined at the Hip, Sinking Together

  • The most influential arguments against the view that there is a genuine problem of transworld identity (or ˜problem of transworld identification™, to use Kripke's preferred terminology) are probably those presented by Plantinga (1973, 1974) and Kripke (1980).

    Transworld Identity

  • One metaphysical problem concerns how change is possible (this has recently become known as the ˜problem of temporary intrinsics™).

    Temporal Parts

  • That there is no solution to the race problem is a statement heard so often in America that it has become almost proverbial; that the solution is simple if our citizens would approach the problem fairly is an observation made less often; but that _there is no problem_ would seem to be either the flippant remark of one who dabbles in sociology or the profound utterance of a new seer.

    The Journal of Negro History, Volume 6, 1921

  • The negro problem is one of many race problems which the United States has, but because it is the most pressing of all of our race problems it is frequently spoken of as _the race problem_.

    Sociology and Modern Social Problems

  • Although there would have been plenty of muttering, nothing would have been done to interfere with the solution of the problem which I had devised, _until the solution was accomplished and the problem ceased to be a problem_.

    Theodore Roosevelt; an Autobiography

  • _What is the precise constitution of the Subliminal_ -- such is the problem which deserves to figure in our Science hereafter as the _problem of

    Memories and Studies

  • It is well known to most of my readers that woman is a problem; but it may not be as well known that now-a-days, she is a _mathematical problem_.

    Newton Forster The Merchant Service

  • Just as astronomy, at bottom, is a mechanical problem, and physiology, likewise, a chemical problem, so is history, at bottom, a _problem of psychology_.

    Prefaces and Prologues to Famous Books with Introductions, Notes and Illustrations

  • * This isn't a linux networking problem, per se, but it is a networking problem*

    LinuxQuestions.org

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.