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 Dr Wendt doesn’t see this multi-skilling as being so difficult and allows the company to vary production balance to meet demand. James Morris, Forbes, 11 Sep. 2021 Given your usual critical and analytical nature, evaluating yourself probably isn't too difficult for you. Tarot Astrologers, chicagotribune.com, 11 Sep. 2021 Allen-Blue knows from experience how difficult that task can be. Dan Horn, The Enquirer, 9 Sep. 2021 However, predicting rising prices during the COVID-19 pandemic has been increasingly difficult. Phillip Molnar, San Diego Union-Tribune, 9 Sep. 2021 Every single one of those productions has been incredibly difficult for various reasons. Michael Schneider, Variety, 8 Sep. 2021 Cage or box traps also are permitted in November, but this means of capture is extremely difficult. BostonGlobe.com, 8 Sep. 2021 The game, in all its yeehaw-tastic self, has allowed friends to connect with each other on digital horseback during a time when being together physically was especially difficult. Paige Lyman, Wired, 7 Sep. 2021 Winning back-to-back college football national championships is extremely difficult. Christopher Smith, al, 6 Sep. 2021

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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Time Traveler for difficult

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

14 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Difficult.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/difficult. Accessed 19 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for difficult



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


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

More from Merriam-Webster on difficult

Nglish: Translation of difficult for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of difficult for Arabic Speakers


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