problem

noun
prob·​lem | \ ˈprä-bləm How to pronounce problem (audio) , -bᵊm, -ˌblem\

Definition of problem

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a question raised for inquiry, consideration, or solution
b : a proposition in mathematics or physics stating something to be done
2a : an intricate unsettled question
b : a source of perplexity, distress, or vexation
c : difficulty in understanding or accepting I have a problem with your saying that

problem

adjective

Definition of problem (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : dealing with a problem of conduct or social relationship a problem play
2 : difficult to deal with a problem child

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Synonyms & Antonyms for problem

Synonyms: Noun

case, challenge, knot, matter, nut, trouble

Antonyms: Noun

answer, solution

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Choose the Right Synonym for problem

Noun

mystery, problem, enigma, riddle, puzzle mean something which baffles or perplexes. mystery applies to what cannot be fully understood by reason or less strictly to whatever resists or defies explanation. the mystery of the stone monoliths problem applies to a question or difficulty calling for a solution or causing concern. problems created by high technology enigma applies to utterance or behavior that is very difficult to interpret. his suicide remains an enigma riddle suggests an enigma or problem involving paradox or apparent contradiction. the riddle of the reclusive pop star puzzle applies to an enigma or problem that challenges ingenuity for its solution. the thief's motives were a puzzle for the police

Examples of problem in a Sentence

Noun

Racism and sexism are major social problems. The company is having financial problems. He has chronic health problems. The mechanic fixed the problem with the car. There are a few problems with your argument. We have to find a way to solve this problem. She is bothered by family problems. We didn't have any problems getting here. I have my own problems to deal with. Mosquitoes are a problem in the summer.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

One problem: No one has any idea what’s in the chips. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "Lenovo's latest IdeaPads offer Intel, AMD, and an Nvidia mystery," 24 Feb. 2019 According to the mining company, the autonomous trains make sure the rails are clear ahead and monitor internal systems as well, checking for faulty wheels or couplers and bringing the train to a stop if there's a problem. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Mining co. says first autonomous freight train network fully operational," 30 Dec. 2018 Moving from paralysis to problem-solving Muro says the government needs to focus more on re-skilling and building up regional economies. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "When towns lose a factory, what comes next?," 29 Nov. 2018 The most common problem is that women don’t use enough. Jennifer Goldstein, Marie Claire, "Hair Rules for Everyone," 7 Feb. 2019 Now, of course, the two can stay in a room together, though their new Toronto home has proven to lead to some other problems in their relationship. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Justin And Hailey Bieber Open Up About Their “Very Hard” Marriage and Justin’s “Legitimate Problem with Sex”," 7 Feb. 2019 His stubbornness causes both problems within the operation and his own family. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "'Blue Bloods' Hints at Fight That Could Tear Brothers Danny and Jamie Reagan Apart," 1 Feb. 2019 Serious eye health problems may occur as a result of sharing contact lenses. Harper's BAZAAR, "How to Build Your Look Around Your Eye Color," 31 Jan. 2019 Further Reading Recycling in the US: An off-again, on-again love affair That pushes the problem of separating out pure materials to the recycling center itself. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Bikes, bowling balls, and the delicate balancing act that is modern recycling," 31 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The staff is trained to address residents who show confused or problem behavior. San Diego Elder Law Center, sandiegouniontribune.com, "CHECKLIST: When it's time for memory care," 24 Apr. 2018 Many people might be surprised to learn that undocumented immigrants are not typically problem children. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "7 Reasons Why China Banned ICOs," 5 Mar. 2017 Problem officers make things difficult for good ones, said Jim Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, America’s largest police-labor organization. Gary Fields, WSJ, "Why Some Problem Cops Don’t Lose Their Badges," 30 Dec. 2016 Tracy Chou, a young engineer at Pinterest, is tackling tech’s women problem head-on. Nathan Heller, Vogue, "How Pinterest Engineer Tracy Chou Is Breaking the Silicon Ceiling," 21 Nov. 2014

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'problem.' 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 problem

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

1894, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for problem

Noun

Middle English probleme, from Latin problema, from Greek problēma, literally, obstacle, from proballein to throw forward, from pro- forward + ballein to throw — more at pro-, devil

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Statistics for problem

Last Updated

15 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for problem

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

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More Definitions for problem

problem

noun

English Language Learners Definition of problem

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: something that is difficult to deal with : something that is a source of trouble, worry, etc.
: difficulty in understanding something
: a feeling of not liking or wanting to do something

problem

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of problem (Entry 2 of 2)

: difficult to deal with

problem

noun
prob·​lem | \ ˈprä-bləm How to pronounce problem (audio) \

Kids Definition of problem

1 : something to be worked out or solved a problem in arithmetic
2 : a person or thing that is hard to understand or deal with He's not the problem. His parents are. Her behavior is a big problem.

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Comments on problem

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