Definition of problematic in US English:

problematic

adjective

  • 1Constituting or presenting a problem or difficulty.

    ‘the situation was problematic for teachers’
    • ‘The problematic nature of the concepts ‘Art Brut’ or ‘Outsider Art’ is once more exposed by a case such as his.’
    • ‘He was a pioneer in designing programmes for captive elephant care, and in the capture and control of problematic animals.’
    • ‘And because of the problematic nature of this general metaphysics, the strategy of this discussion will have to be somewhat different.’
    • ‘Her analysis captures the problematic nature of the self in late modernity and presents it in stark and provocative relief.’
    • ‘Perhaps the most problematic aspect of contemporary nature photography is what is not in the frame.’
    • ‘In reality, the moral implications in such a world are no more problematic or complex than they are in the current one.’
    • ‘Poverty is presented as an issue of problematic behaviour and low self-esteem, rather than of not having enough money.’
    • ‘It seems to be solid enough, but it is problematic and tricky, you're never as sure of it as you'd like to be.’
    • ‘As it is in the witness cases that the courts have most directly confronted the problematic nature of psychiatric illness claims, it is with those cases that we begin.’
    • ‘One of the most controversial and problematic aspects of globalisation is the homogenisation that tends to accompany it.’
    • ‘Although they have the choice of return, it would be a more problematic and difficult move than for British immigrants.’
    • ‘Changes to the Constitution have proved somewhat problematic in the past.’
    • ‘The problematic software programme controls the town centre traffic lights in connection with recently installed sensors.’
    • ‘Like people who hoard possessions, animal hoarders often lack insight into the problematic nature of their behavior.’
    • ‘That said, no study of crime can ignore recorded criminal statistics, if only to highlight their partial and problematic nature.’
    • ‘The problematic nature of these terms has been discussed at length elsewhere.’
    • ‘Blurring the distinction between slave and free makes more complicated and problematic the nature of legal status.’
    • ‘Thus, the problematic nature of eyewitness reports was explicitly acknowledged by the U.S. Supreme Court.’
    • ‘It will do well to escape the controversy of its problematic production, which has raised questions about the scrutiny afforded to public funding of film in Scotland.’
    • ‘This was a show that presented the problematic areas of representation of people outside of one's socio-political group.’
    difficult, hard, problematical, taxing, troublesome, tricky, awkward, controversial, ticklish, complicated, complex, knotty, thorny, prickly, involved, intricate, vexed
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Doubtful or questionable.
      • ‘The stories are all an attempt to answer Akhila's problematic question: can a woman stay single and be happy at the same time?’
      • ‘But the more questions you ask about that, the more problematic it becomes.’
      • ‘But it is also a problematic question since historical scholars have by no means come to any agreement on its answer.’

noun

  • A thing that constitutes a problem or difficulty.

    ‘the problematics of artificial intelligence’
    • ‘The story resonates with the crucial problematics of the exilic experience: the distinction between home and exile, as well as between danger and safety, becomes complicated and problematized.’
    • ‘Demonstrating that all the world is a stage, Thurman places his protagonist in a context of masks, theatres, duplicities, and lies in order to consider the problematics of racial and sexual identity.’
    • ‘This problematics, however much it touches the core of a crucial argument, ceases precisely because it is already circumscribed by legalistic notions of loyalty.’
    • ‘Contrasts in points of view also emphasize the problematics of drawing racial and cultural lines of ‘division.’’
    • ‘Turning to Molière, Braider examines tensions obtaining between text and performance in Amphytrion, a play that thematizes the problematics of doubles.’
    • ‘The central problematics of feminist empiricism can be captured in two apparent paradoxes.’
    • ‘Thus, the problematics of multicultural representation parallel broader questions about the political constitution of categories of difference.’
    • ‘They had set a number of fundamental discursive premises that effectively circumscribed much of the subsequent political problematics.’
    • ‘Gerstler's poems highlight the problematics of written discourse, requiring yet thwarting the operations of both memory and understanding.’
    • ‘The play is generally considered to stand alongside the work of Henry Miller for its insightful portrayal of the problematics of the American dream.’

Origin

Early 17th century: via French from late Latin problematicus, from Greek problēmatikos, from problēma (see problem).

Pronunciation

problematic

/ˌprɑbləˈmædɪk//ˌpräbləˈmadik/