Share this entry

difficulty Line breaks: dif|fi¦culty
Pronunciation: /ˈdɪfɪk(ə)lti/

Definition of difficulty in English:

noun (plural difficulties)

[mass noun]
1The state or condition of being difficult: Guy had no difficulty in making friends I managed with difficulty to struggle upright
More example sentences
  • The lack of air in a birth chart can indicate difficulty in the expression of that person.
  • Monet's desire to become a painter was something his father accepted with difficulty.
  • No wonder we have such difficulty in getting really good candidates to stand.
Synonyms
strain, struggling, awkwardness, trouble, toil, labour, laboriousness, strenuousness, arduousness;
pains, problems, trials and tribulations
informalhassle, stress
literarydolour, travails
complexity, complicatedness, intricacy, perplexity, knottiness, awkwardness;
obscurity, abstruseness
1.1 [count noun] A thing that is hard to accomplish, deal with, or understand: there is a practical difficulty a club with financial difficulties
More example sentences
  • In addition, some firms encounter difficulties in understanding the new rules of the game.
  • I have the professional experience that allows me to understand his difficulties.
  • School was very hard for me but doing sports helped me deal with the difficulties of it.
Synonyms
1.2 (difficulties) A situation that is difficult or dangerous: they went for a swim but got into difficulties
More example sentences
  • In two separate incidents, two divers got into difficulties in Scapa Flow on Sunday.
  • He had got into difficulties in the Atlantis outdoor swimming pool on Sunday afternoon.
  • 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.
Synonyms
trouble, distress, crisis, hardship;
adversity, extremity, need;
hard times, dire straits;
predicament, quandary, dilemma, plight
informalhot water, deep water, a fix, a jam, a spot, a scrape, a stew, a hole, a pickle

Origin

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

Words that rhyme with difficulty

absurdity • gadgety

Definition of difficulty in:

Share this entry

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources