Definition of problem in English:

problem

noun

  • 1A matter or situation regarded as unwelcome or harmful and needing to be dealt with and overcome.

    ‘they have financial problems’
    ‘the problem of ageism in Hollywood’
    • ‘This is a good time to deal with earthy details, practical matters and health problems.’
    • ‘As he points out, the new capitalist economy created social problems not previously faced in American society.’
    • ‘Many youth today are disillusioned and lack personal vision, which partially explains the drug problem plaguing many western countries.’
    • ‘To my knowledge it's the only commercial product in the world that actually has resolved that fundamental problem.’
    • ‘But most experts believe the country's drug problem is likely to get a lot worse before it gets better.’
    • ‘He also has been plagued by left hamstring problems.’
    • ‘However, you do clearly have a problem dealing with stressful situations.’
    • ‘The mechanism of adaptation remains a fundamental unsolved problem in evolutionary biology.’
    • ‘Workers have already been forced to look for other jobs due to financial and family problems.’
    • ‘And the sheer truth: the world's poverty problem is mainly due to unequal distribution of capitalism.’
    • ‘When there is too extensive a drain of Capital from a country, tremendous liquidity problems occur.’
    • ‘Once all the technical problems solved, we start getting it down on tape.’
    • ‘Thus Aer Lingus and its directors face serious technical problems from a company law perspective.’
    • ‘We are never going to solve environmental problems without also solving social justice problems.’
    • ‘He stressed that prison overcrowding was the main problem facing all prisons in the country.’
    • ‘The source of the country's problems is the lack of confidence in the governing process.’
    • ‘"The specialist thinks the groin problem stems from my back complaint.’
    • ‘Conversely, if the extrusion temperature is too high, two potential problems arise.’
    • ‘But the website seemed to be experiencing some technical teething problems.’
    • ‘Although I'm very well off myself, I do unfortunately have a temporary cashflow problem at the moment.’
    • ‘The Net poses intractable problems to the would-be lawmaker, or moral disciplinarian.’
    • ‘Academy status gives schools greater freedom to tackle the problems associated with low performance.’
    • ‘When constructed the roundabout will hopefully alleviate the difficult traffic problems experienced by motorists when exiting Ursuline Court.’
    difficulty, issue, trouble, worry, complication, difficult situation, mess, muddle, mix-up
    nuisance, source of difficulty, bother, pest, source of trouble, irritant, thorn in one's flesh, thorn in one's side, vexation
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A thing that is difficult to achieve or accomplish.
      ‘motivation of staff can also be a problem’
      • ‘The problem is the difficulty of unfurling such a huge flag in gale-force winds.’
      • ‘Climbing over the railings and down the steps was not a difficult problem.’
      • ‘Searching for people is one of the most difficult problems for search engines.’
      • ‘Catching the basketball in traffic or grabbing a difficult pass gives him problems.’
      • ‘Manpower shortages and recruitment problems are creating serious difficulties in many areas of medicine.’
      difficulty, issue, trouble, worry, complication, difficult situation, mess, muddle, mix-up
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2as modifier Denoting or relating to people whose behavior causes difficulties to themselves and others.
      ‘practitioners help families develop strategies for managing problem behavior in teens’
      ‘a problem family’
      • ‘Then his relationship started to sour with his dad, who regularly lost large amounts of money on sports betting and became a problem drinker.’
      • ‘Police and council officers have pledged to do even more to curb problem behaviour and will use new powers to help them.’
      • ‘Among teenagers, however, many of the problem behaviors, such as general delinquency and drug use, occur only because an opportunity to indulge occurs, and because peers provide a means of learning.’
      • ‘An organisation set up to tackle alcohol misuse has called for workplace testing to seek out problem drinkers.’
      • ‘Investigators obtained court approval to evict the residents, a measure they said has proven effective in ending problem behaviour.’
      • ‘The council announced plans to tackle the 500 worst problem families in the town.’
      • ‘Payouts on slot machines are set to increase despite fears about problem gambling.’
      • ‘The problem stems from big cities dumping all their problem families on the old seaside resorts.’
      • ‘Research shows that price and availability are two of the main drivers of problem drinking.’
      • ‘Problem parents who fail to provide valid and legitimate excuses for their children's school absences would then be issued with school attendance notices.’
  • 2Mathematics Physics
    An inquiry starting from given conditions to investigate or demonstrate a fact, result, or law.

    • ‘They are simplified versions of the very difficult problems that physicists encounter.’
    • ‘Under his influence Dirac worked on some problems in statistical mechanics.’
    • ‘The book also contains articles devoted to various problems of applied fluid mechanics.’
    • ‘In fact the specific problem which he set out to solve was to find two mean proportionals between two straight lines.’
    • ‘The conditions of many problems are stated carelessly and drawings are completely lacking.’
    • ‘Turbulence is one of the main unsolved problems in physics.’
    1. 2.1Geometry A proposition in which something has to be constructed.
      Compare with theorem
      • ‘Book One discusses his laws of motion then proceeds to a series of propositions, theorems and problems.’
      • ‘Problems in geometry whose solutions he had shown privately to colleagues were detailed in the book’
      • ‘This work attempted to solve the problem of constructing a line of the same length as an arc of a circle.’
      • ‘The Greeks did not think of the problem as a problem in algebra but rather as a problem in geometry.’
      • ‘He was intrigued by an elusive and tantalizing little problem in elementary geometry known as the butterfly problem.’
    2. 2.2 (in various games, especially chess) an arrangement of pieces in which the solver has to achieve a specified result.
      • ‘Henry learnt to play chess at a young age and soon became interested in chess problems.’
      • ‘Duchamp spent the one week they lived together studying chess problems, and his bride, in desperate retaliation, got up one night when he was asleep and glued the chess pieces to the board.’
      • ‘The problem is White to play and mate in two moves against any Black defence.’
      • ‘This problem teaches you a lot about king and pawn endgames.’
      • ‘He then gave five problems involving the chess board as set up at the start of a game.’

Phrases

  • have a problem with

    • Disagree with or have an objection to.

      ‘I have no problem with shopping on Sundays’
      • ‘And it is our common interests that we represent, so no one should really have a problem with that.’
      • ‘This is something which many people have a problem with when they go to an Indian restaurant.’
      • ‘But surely if his counterparts have a problem with what he did, it will reflect badly on them, and not on him.’
      • ‘Many writers have a problem with even hinting at the general tone of a piece ahead of time.’
      • ‘If you have a problem with that, this is where the exit button can be pressed.’
      • ‘I'm a grown woman who owns a house and wants to live in it - why would she have a problem with that?’
      • ‘We wrestle with that all the time and a lot of people have a problem with that.’
      • ‘I think he's having a problem with all the loud music.’
      • ‘It isn't a term I have a problem with, although not everyone is comfortable with it.’
      • ‘I wouldn't have a problem with that, if it also applied to sites run by the government.’
      disapprove of, oppose, dissent from, think wrong, be against, have a problem with, demur about, demur against, not believe in, not support
      protest, protest against, lodge a protest, lodge a protest against, express objections, raise objections, express objections to, raise objections to, express disapproval, express disapproval of, express disagreement, express disagreement with, oppose, be in opposition, be in opposition to, take exception, take exception to, take issue, take issue with, take a stand against, have a problem, have a problem with, argue, argue against, remonstrate, remonstrate against, make a fuss, make a fuss about, quarrel with, disapprove, disapprove of, condemn, draw the line, draw the line at, demur, mind, complain, complain about, moan, moan about, grumble, grumble about, grouse, grouse about, cavil, cavil at, quibble, quibble about
      View synonyms
  • no problem

    • Used to express one's agreement or acquiescence.

      ‘“Can you help?” “No problem.”’
      • ‘So last night I got to bed really early and managed to get to sleep no problem.’
      • ‘If the chairman or the manager want to talk to me about an extension to my contract then no problem.’
      • ‘Well, there is no need for a solution because Downing Street says there is no problem.’
      • ‘You can while away a shining hour or six when you're watching tropical fish, no problem.’
      • ‘I can clear them over the weekend, no problem, and start a new week all clean, clear and busting to go.’
      • ‘It did take me a while to get used to a curved screen again, but that's no problem.’
      • ‘I have seen it and studied it, so no problem with that little staircase in my garden, right?’
      • ‘He stood in this chamber this morning and said he had no problem with what we were proposing.’
      • ‘If it is just a light shower and we can wait it out in the pits, that's no problem.’
      • ‘On a sunny February afternoon this was no problem, but come August it will be like an oven.’
  • that's your (or his , her , etc.) problem

    • (said with emphatic stress on pronoun) used to express one's lack of interest in or sympathy with the problems or misfortunes of another person.

      ‘he'd made a mistake but that was his problem’
      • ‘You think too much Mitch, I think that's your problem.’
      • ‘How you cope with ordinary bookstores thereafter, well, that's your problem.’
      • ‘If you're getting fat from fast food, some politicians say that's your problem.’
      • ‘If you don't like my being friendly to others in this school, then that's your problem, not everyone else's.’
      • ‘Yeah, sure, he doesn't have an 8 am class like you do, but that's his problem, not your flat mates’.’
      • ‘If you live overseas and can't figure out the time difference, that's your problem.’
      • ‘If he'd rather stay stuck in the past instead of moving on to the possibility of great new things with someone that he (seemed to) really click with, then that's his problem.’
      • ‘You're too sensitive, Christopher, that's your problem.’
      • ‘If Mr Oaten failed to register his own names on the Web, then really that's his problem.’
      • ‘I mean seriously, if he doesn't understand your need for bigger (and not necessarily better) things then that's his problem.’

Origin

Late Middle English (originally denoting a riddle or a question for academic discussion): from Old French probleme, via Latin from Greek problēma, from proballein ‘put forth’, from pro ‘before’ + ballein ‘to throw’.

Pronunciation

problem

/ˈprɑbləm//ˈpräbləm/