difficult

adjective
dif·​fi·​cult | \ ˈdi-fi-(ˌ)kəlt How to pronounce difficult (audio) \

Definition of difficult

1 : hard to do, make, or carry out : arduous a difficult climb
2a : hard to deal with, manage, or overcome a difficult child having a difficult time coping with her death
b : hard to understand : puzzling difficult reading found calculus too difficult

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Other Words from difficult

difficultly adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for difficult

hard, difficult, arduous mean demanding great exertion or effort. hard implies the opposite of all that is easy. farming is hard work difficult implies the presence of obstacles to be surmounted or puzzles to be resolved and suggests the need of skill or courage. the difficult ascent of the mountain arduous stresses the need of laborious and persevering exertion. the arduous task of rebuilding

Examples of difficult in a Sentence

We were asked lots of difficult questions. I had to make a very difficult decision. We'll be hiking over difficult terrain. It's more difficult than it sounds. I found myself in a difficult position. Some difficult days lie ahead of us. These changes will make life difficult for everyone involved.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The task has been made more difficult as Stoneman Douglas students are on spring break. Terry Spencer, The Seattle Times, "Linked by pain: 2 school massacre survivors, dad kill selves," 26 Mar. 2019 Heidi and Mel B both have tough schedules in 2019 that would make doing AGT difficult. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "The Real Reason Why 'America's Got Talent' Judges Heidi Klum and Mel B Are Leaving," 18 Feb. 2019 The use of Tor, which obscures and anonymizes IP addresses and browser user agents, makes tracking individuals online significantly more difficult. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "ACLU to feds: Your “hacking presents a unique threat to individual privacy”," 21 Dec. 2018 Areas reburned before the trees have had a chance to build up their seed supply may have a more difficult time recovering. Kristen Pope, Discover Magazine, "Wildfire Engulfed Yellowstone 30 Years Ago. Its Recovery Could Predict The Future of the West," 12 Nov. 2018 Impeachment would be a difficult process, according to George Washington University law professor John Banzhaf. Jon Kamp, WSJ, "Impeachment Plan for Fairfax Drafted in Virginia," 10 Feb. 2019 The best thing about this setup is that microwaveable unflavored popcorn is rather difficult (for me, at least) to find in the grocery store. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Review: The June oven made me want a camera in every cooking device," 22 Dec. 2018 While the rest of us have to put up with terrible snoring, difficult in-laws, and dirty socks, Cyrus has to take one for the team and attend a movie premiere on her husband's behalf. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Miley Cyrus Attended Husband Liam Hemsworth's "Isn't it Romantic" Movie Premiere Without Him," 12 Feb. 2019 Modern witchiness reveals itself through fashion in clothes that articulate joy and express a healthy relationship with mortality while also being difficult for the male gaze. Harper's BAZAAR, "The Modern Woman Is Embracing Her Inner Witch," 12 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'difficult.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of difficult

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for difficult

Middle English, probably back-formation from difficulte difficulty

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Statistics for difficult

Last Updated

1 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for difficult

The first known use of difficult was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for difficult

difficult

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of difficult

: not easy : requiring much work or skill to do or make
: not easy to deal with or manage
: not willing to help others by changing your behavior : stubborn or unreasonable

difficult

adjective
dif·​fi·​cult | \ ˈdi-fi-ˌkəlt How to pronounce difficult (audio) \

Kids Definition of difficult

1 : not easy : hard to do or make a difficult job
2 : hard to deal with difficult circumstances a difficult child
3 : hard to understand a difficult subject

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Comments on difficult

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