difficult

adjective
dif·​fi·​cult | \ ˈdi-fi-(ˌ)kəlt \

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

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 Superslim laptops can be difficult to open, requiring you to pry apart the thin sides. Melissa Riofrio, PCWorld, "Finally! The new Dell XPS 13 puts the camera in the right place," 8 Jan. 2019 Trump has made this very difficult As much as Trump would like to make this about the wall, this all seems to be, at its heart, about him and his indecision. Emily Stewart, Vox, "“Shutdown today”: Trump is going all in for the border wall," 21 Dec. 2018 But Quinn said that was mostly a product of the early recycling attempts, which involved a collection of small projects that were difficult to keep profitable. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Bikes, bowling balls, and the delicate balancing act that is modern recycling," 31 Dec. 2018 Like, the pressure ... restaurants are notoriously difficult. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Why Sweetgreen thinks like a tech company," 17 Dec. 2018 Good Leadership is so often difficult to define but is easy to recognize. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Read the Speech Prince William Delivered at the Sovereign's Parade," 14 Dec. 2018 After that, Facebook decided building aircraft was too difficult — and irrelevant, with so many other companies developing autonomous Wi-Fi hotspots. Troy Farah, Discover Magazine, "The Web, Worldwide," 19 Oct. 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

18 Feb 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 \

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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