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 Hazard worries that Covid-19 lockdowns could see those sort of problems return. Tara John, Nectar Gan And Swati Gupta, CNN, "90% of the world's students are in lockdown. It's going to hit poor kids much harder than rich ones," 22 Apr. 2020 That’s just the latest of the problems faced by the Ohio Channel, which provides the feed for the governor’s briefings online and to Ohio’s public television stations. Jeremy Pelzer, cleveland, "Gov. Mike DeWine’s daily briefings bring record viewers, inevitable glitches for The Ohio Channel," 21 Apr. 2020 Many in the United States, not to mention elsewhere, face the same set of problems in 2020. Timothy Kent Holliday, Smithsonian Magazine, "What an 1836 Typhus Outbreak Taught the Medical World About Epidemics," 21 Apr. 2020 Quantum gravity has been formulated to tackle one of the greatest problems in all of physics: the need to unite the two great theories of the 20th century—general relativity and quantum mechanics. Conor Purcell, Ars Technica, "Can we craft a theory in which space and time aren’t assumed to exist?," 20 Apr. 2020 Noom works with customers to help create healthier habits, reduce their risk of chronic health problems, and reverse disease. Mark Heim | Mheim@al.com, al, "No food delivery time slots available? Try these online services, apps during COVID-19 pandemic," 20 Apr. 2020 But Alzheimer's, at its core, is a problem of cell biology whose solution should be well within our reach. Kenneth S. Kosik, Scientific American, "Five Types of Research, Underexplored until Recently, Could Produce Alzheimer’s Treatments," 20 Apr. 2020 That's the problem with having a computer system that's designed to tell independent contractors 'No' when the answer now is 'Yes.' Coronavirus: How to file for unemployment in Kentucky, who is eligible? Morgan Watkins, The Courier-Journal, "You had coronavirus questions for Gov. Andy Beshear. Here's what he had to say," 20 Apr. 2020 More news from the private sector: RANT AND RAVE Silicon Valley is divided over prominent investor Marc Andreessen's call for tech talent to rebuild American society in light of the problems highlighted by the coronavirus pandemic. Washington Post, "The Technology 202: Coronavirus could change how social networks approach public health," 19 Apr. 2020 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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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

25 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Problem.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/problem. Accessed 31 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for problem

problem

noun
How to pronounce problem (audio)

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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