Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The condition or quality of being difficult.
  • noun Something not easily done, accomplished, comprehended, or solved.
  • noun A troublesome or embarrassing state of affairs, especially of financial affairs.
  • noun A disagreement or dispute.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Want of easiness or facility; hindrance to the doing of something; hardness to be accomplished or overcome; the character or condition of an undertaking which renders its performance laborious or perplexing: opposed to facility: as, a work of labor and difficulty.
  • noun That which is hard to accomplish or to surmount: as, to mistake difficulties for impossibilities.
  • noun Perplexity; complication or embarrassment of affairs, especially of pecuniary affairs; trouble; dilemma; whatever renders action or progress laborious or painful: as, a gentleman in difficulties.
  • noun Objection; cavil; obstruction to belief or consent.
  • noun An embroilment; a serious complication of feeling or opinion; a falling out; a variance or quarrel.
  • noun Synonyms Laboriousness, troublesomeness, arduousness.
  • noun Obstruction, Impediment, etc.(seeobstacle), hindrance.
  • noun Distress, exigency, trial, emergency, pinch.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The state of being difficult, or hard to do; hardness; arduousness; -- opposed to easiness or facility
  • noun Something difficult; a thing hard to do or to understand; that which occasions labor or perplexity, and requires skill and perseverance to overcome, solve, or achieve; a hard enterprise; an obstacle; an impediment
  • noun A controversy; a falling out; a disagreement; an objection; a cavil.
  • noun Embarrassment of affairs, especially financial affairs; -- usually in the plural.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The state of being difficult, or hard to do.
  • noun An obstacle that hinders achievement of a goal.

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

  • noun an effort that is inconvenient
  • noun a condition or state of affairs almost beyond one's ability to deal with and requiring great effort to bear or overcome
  • noun a factor causing trouble in achieving a positive result or tending to produce a negative result
  • noun the quality of being difficult

Etymologies

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

[Middle English difficulte, from Old French dificulte, from Latin difficultās, from difficilis, difficult : dis-, dis- + facilis, easy; see dhē- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English difficultee, from Old French difficulté, from Latin difficultas, from difficul, older form of difficilis ("hard to do, difficult"), from dis- + facilis ("easy"); see difficile and difficult.

Examples

  • The main difficulty is that the data obtained from around the world does not belong to them, and obtaining permissions from all and sundry has proven to be an exhausting process.

    Archive 2009-11-01

  • Its main difficulty is that it is not warm or cuddly, unlike God or Oprah. by Gregory Benford and Michael Rose.

    18 Non-Fiction Essays by Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers

  • Created by a range of leading designers and illustrators, the Perplex City puzzle cards range in difficulty from the fun and easy to the captivatingly complex.

    Boing Boing: February 19, 2006 - February 25, 2006 Archives

  • My main difficulty is the tightness of the plot and my need to inject "Dean-ness" (my sensibilities) into the work.

    notes from the peanut gallery

  • My main difficulty is the tightness of the plot and my need to inject "Dean-ness" (my sensibilities) into the work.

    Archive 2003-06-01

  • In fact the increase in difficulty is much greater, and even more so at very selective schools, because so many other factors have changed.

    The New College Chaos

  • In fact the increase in difficulty is much greater, and even more so at very selective schools, because so many other factors have changed.

    The New College Chaos

  • But the main difficulty is that the great Hindu and Moslem religious communities which play such a vital part in the social and political life of India have not yet been able to compose their differences and to agree on a Constitution which would divide authority equitably between them and protect the rights of minorities.

    The Empire In These Days

  • The major part of the difficulty is the substantial support they need and their drive for personal gain, with both being heavily financially oriented and their total focus.

    Tea Party organizer vows to burn Pelosi and Perriello in effigy

  • COOPER: But I have read some of the dissenting opinions from this 2002 Supreme Court ruling, and they basically said, look, we're leaving this incredibly vague and we're not really telling courts -- lower courts, how to deal with this, because who can -- I mean, the line for determining what they call difficulty controlling your impulses, it's a very shady line.

    CNN Transcript Jun 27, 2003

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