Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

difficulty

play
noun dif·fi·cul·ty \-(ˌ)kəl-tē\

Simple Definition of difficulty

  • : the quality of something that makes it hard to do : the difficult nature of something

  • : something that is not easy to do or to deal with : a difficult situation

  • : a disagreement in opinion

Full Definition of difficulty

plural dif·fi·cul·ties

  1. 1 :  the quality or state of being difficult

  2. 2 :  controversy, disagreement

  3. 3 :  objection

  4. 4 :  something difficult :  impediment

  5. 5 :  embarrassment, trouble —usually used in plural

Examples of difficulty

  1. She underestimated the difficulty of saving so much money.

  2. <the many difficulties that he encountered on the road from poor orphan to head of a major corporation>



Origin of difficulty

Middle English difficulte, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French difficulté, from Latin difficultas, from difficilis not easy, from dis- + facilis easy — more at facile


First Known Use: 14th century




Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up difficulty? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

February 10, 2016

to put in good humor

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image1037863653

Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

duvet spindrift pince-nez kittly-benders
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ