problem

noun
prob·​lem | \ˈprä-bləm, -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

But the experience of the West in Afghanistan since 2001 holds another lesson: military intervention alone cannot solve the problem. The Economist, "The fight against Islamic State is moving to Africa," 14 July 2018 With mining, computers compete to unlock new bitcoins by solving difficult computational problems. BostonGlobe.com, "How Russian spies hid behind bitcoin in hacking campaign," 14 July 2018 To solve the problem, the graduate student created a website, TwoInchBrush.com, that is a searchable database of all 403 episodes. Julia Lyon, Washington Post, "People are waiting in line. Is it Hamilton? No, it’s Bob Ross on YouTube.," 13 July 2018 At one point, the agents were actually mining new Bitcoin, a process that involves using computers to unlock new Bitcoin by solving complex computational problems. Mark Mazzetti, New York Times, "12 Russian Agents Indicted in Mueller Investigation," 13 July 2018 Opponents say it’s simply an ineffective bailout — kicking the can down the road without solving the real problem. Edward Mckinley, kansascity, "KC union retirees join rally in Ohio for pension fix — or is it a bailout?," 13 July 2018 Faster communication, the ability of computers to solve problems that once took weeks or months to crack and the shrinking news cycle are changing the environment in which government does business. James Stavridis, Time, "Democracy Isn't Perfect, But It Will Still Prevail," 12 July 2018 Tea also solves the most common problem of mocktails — cloying sweetness. Joy Manning, Philly.com, "Where to drink in Philadelphia during Dry July," 12 July 2018 Starbucks’ plan to eliminate 1 billion plastic straws per year is not going to solve this problem. Emily Atkin, The New Republic, "Critics of Starbucks’ Straw Ban Are Missing the Point," 12 July 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

8 Nov 2018

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 \

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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