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

  • n. The condition or quality of being difficult: the difficulty of a task.
  • n. Something not easily done, accomplished, comprehended, or solved.
  • n. A troublesome or embarrassing state of affairs, especially of financial affairs. Often used in the plural.
  • n. A laborious effort; a struggle; trouble: had difficulty walking; completed the test with difficulty.
  • n. A disagreement or dispute.
  • n. Reluctance or an objection; unwillingness.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The state of being difficult, or hard to do; hardness; arduousness; -- opposed to easiness or facility
  • n. 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
  • n. A controversy; a falling out; a disagreement; an objection; a cavil.
  • n. Embarrassment of affairs, especially financial affairs; -- usually in the plural.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. 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.
  • n. That which is hard to accomplish or to surmount: as, to mistake difficulties for impossibilities.
  • n. 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.
  • n. Objection; cavil; obstruction to belief or consent.
  • n. An embroilment; a serious complication of feeling or opinion; a falling out; a variance or quarrel.
  • n. Synonyms Laboriousness, troublesomeness, arduousness.
  • n. Obstruction, Impediment, etc.(seeobstacle), hindrance.
  • n. Distress, exigency, trial, emergency, pinch.

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

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


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.


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