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

Antonyms: Noun

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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 But there’s a bigger problem at stake than the questionable offsets that could be traded by Washington polluters, including those packaged by a firm BP controls. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, "BP’s Suspicious Support for a Carbon Market in Washington State," 6 May 2021 Some might think the pandemic isn't their problem to solve. Adam Rogers, Wired, "The Statistical Secrets of Covid-19 Vaccines," 6 May 2021 The oversight board represents a heroic attempt to solve an unsolvable problem: concentrated, unaccountable power. Helen Lewis, The Atlantic, "The Problem Is Facebook," 5 May 2021 But its biggest problem is that delaying RMDs would be so regressive. Howard Gleckman, Forbes, "Delaying Required IRA Distributions—Again— Would Largely Help Only The Wealthy," 5 May 2021 The one big problem: macular degeneration in one eye, discovered only this week. Sig Christenson, San Antonio Express-News, "Pearl Harbor survivor celebrates 100th birthday at a San Antonio restaurant," 5 May 2021 The problem, which has been mounting for years, is increasingly acute as lawmakers and the public focus on the vast power social-media companies hold over the flow of information. Kirsten Grind, WSJ, "Inside ‘Facebook Jail’: The Secret Rules That Put Users in the Doghouse," 4 May 2021 Instead, the company acted like none of this was its problem. Los Angeles Times, "Column: A telemarketer. An Alzheimer’s patient. A health insurance nightmare," 4 May 2021 Another problem: Chips sometimes get damaged in transit, from excess heat or rough handling. Jeanne Whalen, Anchorage Daily News, "How the global chip shortage might affect people who just want to wash their dogs," 3 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective In response largely to a non-problem, Democrats want to trample on the prerogatives of states to conduct elections, mandating their electoral priorities throughout the land. Rich Lowry, National Review, "H.R. 1 Is a Partisan Disgrace," 9 Mar. 2021 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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Time Traveler for problem

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for problem

Last Updated

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Problem.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/problem. Accessed 15 May. 2021.

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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.

Comments on problem

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