Definitions

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

  • n. A state of distress, affliction, difficulty, or need: tried to console them in their trouble; got in trouble with the police.
  • n. A distressing or difficult circumstance or situation: I've had troubles ever since I took this job.
  • n. A cause or source of distress, disturbance, or difficulty: The new recruits were a trouble to him.
  • n. Effort, especially when inconvenient or bothersome: went to a lot of trouble to find this book.
  • n. A condition of pain, disease, or malfunction: heart trouble; car trouble.
  • n. Public unrest or disorder.
  • n. An instance of this; a disturbance.
  • n. Any of various conflicts or rebellions in Ireland or Northern Ireland, especially the period of social unrest in Northern Ireland beginning in 1969.
  • transitive v. To agitate; stir up.
  • transitive v. To afflict with pain or discomfort.
  • transitive v. To cause emotional strain or anxiety to; worry or distress.
  • transitive v. To inconvenience; bother: May I trouble you for directions?
  • intransitive v. To take pains: They trouble over every detail.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A distressful or dangerous situation.
  • n. A difficulty, problem, condition, or action contributing to such a situation.
  • n. A violent occurrence or event.
  • n. Efforts taken or expended, typically beyond the normal required.
  • n. A malfunction.
  • n. Liability to punishment; conflict with authority.
  • n. A fault or interruption in a stratum.
  • v. To disturb, stir up, agitate (a medium, especially water).
  • v. To mentally distress; to cause (someone) to be anxious or perplexed.
  • v. In weaker sense: to bother; to annoy, pester.
  • v. To take pains to do something.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Troubled; dark; gloomy.
  • n. The state of being troubled; disturbance; agitation; uneasiness; vexation; calamity.
  • n. That which gives disturbance, annoyance, or vexation; that which afflicts.
  • n. A fault or interruption in a stratum.
  • transitive v. To put into confused motion; to disturb; to agitate.
  • transitive v. To disturb; to perplex; to afflict; to distress; to grieve; to fret; to annoy; to vex.
  • transitive v. To give occasion for labor to; -- used in polite phraseology.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To stir up; agitate; disturb; put into commotion.
  • To disturb; interrupt or interfere with.
  • To disturb in mind; annoy; vex; harass; afflict; distress; worry.
  • To put to trouble, inconvenience, pains, or exertion of some kind: used conventionally in courteous requests: as, may I trouble you to shut the door?
  • Synonyms Afflict, Distress, etc. (see afflict); perplex, agitate, plague, pester, badger, disquiet, make uneasy, anxious, or restless.
  • To become turbid or cloudy.
  • To take trouble or pains; trouble one's self; worry: as, do not trouble about the matter.
  • Same as troubly.
  • n. Vexation; perplexity; worry; difficulties; trials; affliction.
  • n. Annoyance; molestation; persecution.
  • n. Disturbing, annoying, or vexatious circumstance, affair, or state; distress; difficulty.
  • n. A source or cause of annoyance, perplexity, or distress: as, he is a great trouble to us.
  • n. Labor; laborious effort: as, it is no trouble.
  • n. In law, particularly French law, anything causing injury or damage such as is the subject of legal relief.
  • n. A disease, or a diseased condition; an affection: as, a cancerous trouble.
  • n. In mining, a small fault. Also called a throw, slide, slip, heave, or check.

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

  • v. move deeply
  • v. to cause inconvenience or discomfort to
  • v. cause bodily suffering to and make sick or indisposed
  • n. a source of difficulty
  • v. take the trouble to do something; concern oneself
  • n. a strong feeling of anxiety
  • n. an event causing distress or pain
  • n. an unwanted pregnancy
  • n. an angry disturbance
  • v. disturb in mind or make uneasy or cause to be worried or alarmed
  • n. an effort that is inconvenient

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, from troubler, to trouble, from Vulgar Latin *turbulāre, alteration (influenced by Latin turbula, small group, diminutive of turba, crowd) of Late Latin turbidāre, from Latin turbidus, confused; see turbid.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Verb is from Middle English troblen, from Old French trobler, from Medieval Latin *turbulare, from Latin turbula ("disorderly group, a little crowd or people"), diminutive of turba ("stir, crowd"). The noun is from Middle English troble, from Old French troble, (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Now, all that that means is this: I don't know what your trouble is, but, if money can cure it, you _haven't got any trouble_.

    Writing for Vaudeville

  • Although living under a monarchy, he could not help sneering at the kindness of those omnipotent governments who, in their paternal desire to spare the people they govern all trouble, would like to spare them even the “trouble of thinking.

    Abraham Lincoln. IV

  • Annie said she thought she would at least like to go to the seaside somewhere during the summer, but "No," Lyra said; "it would be too much trouble, and you know, Annie, I always did hate _trouble_.

    Annie Kilburn : a Novel

  • That's also why cars from financially distressed companies lose their value -- part of the reason why companies like Chrysler are in trouble is because they depended on these large fleet purchases, which artificially inflate sales numbers but decrease the value of the vehicles.

    Cars That Lose Their Value Fastest

  • ROBERTS: Well, and the Republicans tried to answer that at the end of last week, because one of the reasons that they are in trouble is that this label of the party of no has been sticking to them to some degree.

    President Obama Takes To The Campaign Trail

  • The reason Bennett's in trouble is because he is a member of the political party that caused this economic meltdown in the first place.

    Public anger is 'why I am in trouble,' Bennett says

  • Where businesses get in trouble is by making rules for which they cannot demonstrate a business utility, e.g.,

    Ah, gerrymandering. | RedState

  • And I suppose it makes sense; the substance that got them in trouble is so widely available that only their own free will could stop them using it. viagra Says:

    Matthew Yglesias » By Request: Your Crime Control Policy On Drugs

  • The only times we really get in trouble is when we kind of get one-on-one, '' Harpring said.

    USATODAY.com

  • Instinct says a delay helps the Rays, because the team in trouble is usually most in need of a timeout.

    Gods must be crazy to come up with this World Series

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Comments

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  • I'm being told 'hemp, flax'. Aren't those tree radicals?

    friesian.com/yinyang.htm (no idea how authoritative it is) says: 'It is sometimes said that the Chinese character for "trouble" shows two women under one roof. Such a character is possible, and would look like this see link, but there actually is no such Chinese character, though I understand that the myth lives on the internet.'

    April 20, 2008

  • Everything I know about Chinese symbols I learned from Japanese kanji, but looking at the symbol I can see how that would work. It looks like this if anyone's interested: 麻

    April 20, 2008

  • The Chinese ideogram for "trouble" shows two women living under one roof.
    (Disclaimer: I don't know Chinese, can anyone verify this?)

    April 20, 2008