problematic

adjective
prob·​lem·​at·​ic | \ ˌprä-blə-ˈma-tik How to pronounce problematic (audio) \
variants: or less commonly problematical \ ˌprä-​blə-​ˈma-​ti-​kəl How to pronounce problematical (audio) \

Definition of problematic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : posing a problem : difficult to solve or decide
b : not definite or settled : uncertain their future remains problematic
c : open to question or debate : questionable
2 : expressing or supporting a possibility

problematic

noun

Definition of problematic (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that is problematic : a problematic aspect or concern

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Other Words from problematic

Adjective

problematically \ ˌprä-​blə-​ˈma-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce problematically (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms for problematic

Synonyms: Adjective

catchy, delicate, difficult, dodgy [chiefly British], hairy, knotty, nasty, prickly, sensitive, spiny, sticky, thorny, ticklish, touchy, tough, tricksy, tricky

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Choose the Right Synonym for problematic

Adjective

doubtful, dubious, problematic, questionable mean not affording assurance of the worth, soundness, or certainty of something. doubtful implies little more than a lack of conviction or certainty. doubtful about whether I said the right thing dubious stresses suspicion, mistrust, or hesitation. dubious about the practicality of the scheme problematic applies especially to things whose existence, meaning, fulfillment, or realization is highly uncertain. whether the project will ever be finished is problematic questionable may imply no more than the existence of doubt but usually suggests that the suspicions are well-grounded. a man of questionable honesty

Examples of problematic in a Sentence

Adjective

Rules of grammar are more problematic for non-native speakers. the problematic situation of somehow having two dates for the same party

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

In an already less-than-lucrative industry, that can be problematic for providers. Hayley Harding, The Seattle Times, "Looking for the perfect child care? Join the waiting list.," 13 Apr. 2019 Negotiations between tower operator SETE and tower workers were held to discuss a proposal to resolve the problematic lines on August 2, after which the strike came to a close. Janine Puhak, Fox News, "Eiffel Tower reopens after staff strikes over 'monstrous' lines," 3 Aug. 2018 Inside the solid walls of the factory, engineers are scrambling to rework a problematic assembly line that Musk himself admitted was over-automated. Russ Mitchell, latimes.com, "Elon Musk is about to reveal how many Model 3s he's making. But that won't answer all the questions facing Tesla," 29 June 2018 But the totality of the Intercept’s coverage fits into a problematic story line for Democrats — one where the committee that’s supposed to help them flip the House can’t be trusted. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: The Intercept breaks open Democratic squabbles as midterm elections approach," 30 Apr. 2018 But those same capabilities can allow for problematic and discriminatory targeting if used unchecked. Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge, "ACLU says Facebook allowed discriminatory job ads that didn’t appear to women," 18 Sep. 2018 The dollar’s strength is becoming increasingly problematic for U.S. multinationals that need to convert foreign profits into the U.S. currency. Ira Iosebashvili, WSJ, "Strong Dollar Casts Shadow Over Stock Market Rally," 12 Feb. 2019 The fact that instead of simply owning up to his error, Giuliani immediately turned toward accusing Twitter of anti-Trump bias is extremely problematic. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "Rudy Giuliani accuses Twitter of bias for hyperlinking text," 5 Dec. 2018 But to have so many of them essentially, now, in charge of what have become, basically, the locomotives of human history now, these various platforms, is really, really problematic. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Elites like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos think they’re being philanthropic. But they could do so much more.," 3 Oct. 2018

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

Adjective

1609, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1898, in the meaning defined above

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Learn More about problematic

Dictionary Entries near problematic

probit

probity

problem

problematic

problematist

problematize

problemist

Statistics for problematic

Last Updated

28 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for problematic

The first known use of problematic was in 1609

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More Definitions for problematic

problematic

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of problematic

: difficult to understand, solve, or fix

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Comments on problematic

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a strong desire or propensity

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