Definition of difficulty in English:

difficulty

nounPlural difficulties

mass noun
  • 1The state or condition of being difficult.

    ‘Guy had no difficulty in making friends’
    ‘I managed with difficulty to struggle upright’
    • ‘He was also critical over farmers' difficulty in getting licences to move animals.’
    • ‘I have difficulty in walking, so getting to the top of town is virtually impossible.’
    • ‘The European court had no difficulty in deciding that it was unfair for that to happen.’
    • ‘Trying to pin down a connection between art and morality is fraught with difficulty.’
    • ‘Nor do we have any difficulty in seeing the alternatives as real alternatives.’
    • ‘But the cost and difficulty in getting hold of such items made them the stuff of dreams.’
    • ‘He was, however, having difficulty in getting a suitable test case to the starting gate.’
    • ‘The lack of air in a birth chart can indicate difficulty in the expression of that person.’
    • ‘That was, by the way and a propos of nothing, one of the few words that I had difficulty in spelling as a child.’
    • ‘I regarded him as an honest and sensible witness and have no difficulty in believing what he told me.’
    • ‘No wonder we have such difficulty in getting really good candidates to stand.’
    • ‘When he did paint actual places he had no difficulty in ruthlessly leaving out bits he didn't want.’
    • ‘However, there can be difficulty in defining what is actual or physical retirement.’
    • ‘He eventually manhandled the rock into his goody bag and dragged it with difficulty to the surface.’
    • ‘Monet's desire to become a painter was something his father accepted with difficulty.’
    • ‘Europeans often have difficulty in overcoming their initial aversion to this smell.’
    • ‘It's a journey fraught with difficulty, aided by a whole string of people smugglers.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, it is a tragedy that such a splendid player has such difficulty in running.’
    • ‘Because of this, there may be some difficulty in giving or receiving affection.’
    • ‘They are apt to lead to much difficulty in application because they give rise to much uncertainty.’
    strain, struggling, awkwardness, trouble, toil, labour, laboriousness, strenuousness, arduousness
    complexity, complicatedness, intricacy, perplexity, knottiness, awkwardness
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1count noun A thing that is hard to accomplish, deal with, or understand.
      ‘there is a practical difficulty’
      ‘a club with financial difficulties’
      • ‘It is understood that one of her difficulties related to an arranged marriage.’
      • ‘Even the club had difficulties finding a translator at the time of his signing.’
      • ‘He had a very hard life and due to difficulties with his family found himself on the streets.’
      • ‘School was very hard for me but doing sports helped me deal with the difficulties of it.’
      • ‘What do you do when someone comes to you with an emotional difficulty he or she wishes to deal with?’
      • ‘It is like a mindset, and that is the difficulty we have when dealing with cases like this.’
      • ‘My Lords, there is in any event a considerable conceptual difficulty in a stay of this sort of order.’
      • ‘Of course, there will be short moments where there will be problems and difficulties.’
      • ‘If there is any trouble, the team try to deal with it and report back to me any difficulties.’
      • ‘I could understand the difficulties, we had a lot of nationalities in the back four.’
      • ‘A solution to these difficulties is needed to develop a general vision into a practical policy.’
      • ‘There has been no disguising the financial difficulties the party has been in since the election.’
      • ‘Its previous owner had bought it from an aircraft museum that got into financial difficulties.’
      • ‘The main difficulty in discussing morality is agreeing the meaning of the terms we use.’
      • ‘I have the professional experience that allows me to understand his difficulties.’
      • ‘A difficulty in applying the definition is to decide what is a specific cognitive domain.’
      • ‘In addition, some firms encounter difficulties in understanding the new rules of the game.’
      • ‘It's the last and only resort for very many people in all sorts of crises and difficulties.’
      • ‘Many farmers and farm workers are experiencing real financial difficulties, he says.’
      • ‘I understand the difficulty and if we don't put it right it has huge implications for staff.’
      problem, complication, issue, disadvantage, snag, hitch, drawback, pitfall, handicap, impediment, hindrance, obstacle, hurdle, stumbling block, obstruction, barrier
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2difficulties A situation that is difficult or dangerous.
      ‘they went for a swim but got into difficulties’
      • ‘But in London, only 1 per cent of borrowers were in difficulties, following the increase in the capital's property prices.’
      • ‘Nicky got into difficulties on Sunday afternoon as he was swimming with two friends.’
      • ‘Their chopper got into difficulties as it came in to land just off the Shetland Islands on Friday evening.’
      • ‘He had gone in to save his friend and then got into difficulties himself.’
      • ‘He claims his daughter got into difficulties while driving on a motorway.’
      • ‘Stephen and a colleague were pulled from the blaze by fellow firefighters after they got into difficulties inside the building last night’
      • ‘They had been out together for the day and he was swimming when he got into difficulties.’
      • ‘In two separate incidents, two divers got into difficulties in Scapa Flow on Sunday.’
      • ‘The recovery project ran into difficulties as the data was saved in an obscure format that modern Amiga emulators could not read.’
      • ‘"We must also avoid putting undue pressure on companies that may be in difficulties."’
      • ‘We are also aware of the problems facing the minority of payday lending customers who get into difficulties repaying their loans.’
      • ‘He played the first 14 holes in four under par until he ran into difficulties in the hole 15.’
      • ‘He then ran into difficulties after promoting his movie in Toronto earlier in the week.’
      • ‘Poor visibility and heavy rain did not prevent three jet skiers taking to the water off the Exmouth coast before they got into difficulties.’
      • ‘The money will come from a fund set up to deal with credit unions in difficulties.’
      • ‘It is thought one of the men may have fallen in, and then the other went to try to help and also got into difficulties.’
      • ‘He had got into difficulties in the Atlantis outdoor swimming pool on Sunday afternoon.’
      • ‘A dog will get itself out of water so if you do see an animal in difficulties, by all means call the emergency services and wait for help but do not try to be a hero.’
      • ‘Publicly available documents reveal one of the companies she owns got into difficulties at the end of 2011.’
      • ‘Two other friends got into difficulties in the rescue attempt and had to be pulled to safety.’
      trouble, distress, crisis, hardship
      View synonyms

Origin

Late Middle English (in the senses ‘requiring effort or skill’ and ‘something difficult’): from Latin difficultas, from dis- (expressing reversal) + facultas ‘ability, opportunity’.

Pronunciation

difficulty

/ˈdɪfɪk(ə)lti/