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

Since then, problems have emerged in nearly every major business in the bank. Emily Glazer, WSJ, "Wells Fargo Expects Asset Cap to Last Longer Than Expected," 15 Jan. 2019 Obviously, the problem arises from the fact that Joe Goldberg looks exactly like Dan Humphrey, who in turn looks exactly like Penn Badgley. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Penn Badgley Tells You Fans Not to Crush on Joe Goldberg," 13 Jan. 2019 The latest emissions data comes as the world’s scientists have called the global climate problem more urgent than previously thought – making the United States’ emissions trends and its path to withdraw from the Paris agreement more consequential. Chris Mooney, The Seattle Times, "U.S. greenhouse gas emissions spiked in 2018 – and it couldn’t happen at a worse time," 9 Jan. 2019 Although colic doesn’t cause serious medical problems for an infant, Dr. Kyvelos says, there are some things to keep an eye out for in a colicky baby. Kimberly Truong, SELF, "Hilary Duff Reveals Her Daughter Has Colic—and Asks for Help on Instagram," 4 Jan. 2019 Better sensors and software could address this problem. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "The hype around driverless cars came crashing down in 2018," 30 Dec. 2018 The incident, beyond being highly embarrassing to Hoffman, illustrates a bigger problem as Silicon Valley’s billionaires increasingly try to play political investor. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "Reid Hoffman is learning an early rule of being a megadonor: It’s hard to keep track of your money," 26 Dec. 2018 The Keio University researchers used this efficiency to build a device to solve the traveling salesman problem. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "A Single Cell Hints at a Solution to the Biggest Problem in Computer Science," 27 Dec. 2018 With more on-road experience than any other competitor, Waymo used its authority to expand its services to real people, with a focus on solving transportation problems for people with disabilities, transit employees, and families. Alissa Walker, Curbed, "The good, the bad, and the ugly of self-driving cars in 2018," 27 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

18 Jan 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 \

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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a complex dispute or argument

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