trou·​ble | \ ˈtrə-bəl How to pronounce trouble (audio) \
plural troubles

Definition of trouble

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the quality or state of being troubled especially mentally
2 : public unrest or disturbance there's trouble brewing downtown
3 : an instance of trouble used to disguise her frustrations and despair by making light of her troublesCurrent Biography
4 : a state or condition of distress, annoyance, or difficulty in trouble with the law heading for trouble got into financial trouble : such as
a : a condition of physical distress or ill health : ailment back trouble heart trouble
b : a condition of mechanical malfunction engine trouble
c : a condition of doing something badly or only with great difficulty has trouble reading has trouble breathing
d dated, informal : the state of being pregnant while unmarried got a girl in trouble
5 : an effort made : pains took the trouble to do it right
6a : a cause of distress, annoyance, or inconvenience don't mean to be any trouble what's the trouble?
b : a negative feature : drawback the trouble with you is you're too honest the main trouble with electronic systems is the overreliance on them— John Perham
c : the unhappy or sad fact the trouble is, I need the money


troubled; troubling\ ˈtrə-​b(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce trouble (audio) \

Definition of trouble (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to agitate mentally or spiritually : worry, disturb
b : to put to exertion or inconvenience I'm sorry to trouble you
c(1) : to produce physical disorder in : afflict troubled by a cold
(2) archaic : mistreat, oppress
2 : to put into confused motion the wind troubled the sea

intransitive verb

1 : to become mentally agitated : worry refused to trouble over trifles
2 : to make an effort : be at pains did not trouble to come

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Other Words from trouble


troubler \ ˈtrə-​b(ə-​)lər How to pronounce trouble (audio) \ noun

Examples of trouble in a Sentence

Noun The new system is giving me trouble. He was having trouble with his homework. I had a little trouble finding the place. He had no trouble finding a new job. gangs looking to make trouble When the new CEO arrived, the company was in trouble. She got into trouble with her credit cards. He's always getting in trouble at school. She has been having trouble with her knee. Verb The accusations troubled him deeply. I'm troubled by his strange behavior. I don't mean to trouble you, but I have a question.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun However, once reassembled, caulked, greased, and fitted with EV propulsion, such cars could run virtually trouble-free into the 22nd century. Dan Neil, WSJ, 5 June 2021 Because weather, truck mechanical trouble and other issues can affect the event, the village encourages people to check its website,, or its Facebook page,, for updates., 5 June 2021 Gesicki, taken in the second round, has lived up to his potential as a pass-catching playmaker out of the slot position who had some trouble blocking at times. Safid Deen,, 5 June 2021 The sneaky and now-beloved purchase exemplifies the curious, active, mischievous boy who was often the ringleader of brotherly trouble. Jill Tucker, San Francisco Chronicle, 4 June 2021 Essential Quality, despite the early trouble, was able to put his race back together and finished fourth, a length behind winner Medina Spirit. John Cherwa, Los Angeles Times, 4 June 2021 After Miller walked, Scherzer escaped trouble when McCutchen's grounder hit Realmuto for the second out. Rob Maaddi, Star Tribune, 4 June 2021 At a time when many school officials thought the best way to deal with problematic students was to suspend or expel them, Susan F. Cole realized what may seem obvious now: Sometimes, trouble at school meant trauma at home. New York Times, 4 June 2021 Plans for supersonic passenger flights have usually been limited to corporate jets, although those plans have encountered trouble coming to fruition. Chris Isidore, CNN, 3 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Kudlow: There are two things that trouble me beside tax policy. Daniel Tenreiro, National Review, 11 May 2021 Ruth Gregory, a senior economist at Capital Economics, said Wednesday that energy prices were the major driver of inflation in April, and that price hikes won't trouble the Bank of England until late 2023. Charles Riley, CNN, 19 May 2021 Killers’ excellent memories also give them a predilection for grudges—enemies that trouble them twice should expect to be trounced with extra gusto. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 22 Apr. 2021 Yet the central bank does have an inflation problem that will trouble it when the economic recovery produces sustained price pressures. The Economist, 17 Apr. 2021 What might trouble the Warriors is that, despite a strong desire and work ethic, Wiseman still often plays with that questionable motor Durant noticed more than 2½ years ago. Connor Letourneau, San Francisco Chronicle, 6 Apr. 2021 By that film’s conclusion, the people of Japan had befriended the Shobijin, the tiny twin women with a special connection to the giant moth, pretty much guaranteeing that Mothra would trouble them no more. Keith Phipps, Vulture, 31 Mar. 2021 Musselman doesn’t have a ton of experience coaching in the NCAAs, but his teams have a trademark that could trouble the Bears. Mark Heim |, al, 29 Mar. 2021 Beyond the perplexing assumption that federal bureaucrats will be inclined to champion conservative speech, the idea of government policing speech should trouble people of every political persuasion. Jessica Melugin, Fortune, 25 Mar. 2021

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


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for trouble


Middle English, from Anglo-French trubler, from Vulgar Latin *turbulare, from *turbulus agitated, alteration of Latin turbulentus — more at turbulent

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Time Traveler for trouble

Time Traveler

The first known use of trouble was in the 13th century

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Statistics for trouble

Last Updated

7 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Trouble.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for trouble



English Language Learners Definition of trouble

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: problems or difficulties
: a situation that is difficult or has a lot of problems
: a situation that occurs if you do something wrong or break a rule and which will make someone angry or cause you to be punished



English Language Learners Definition of trouble (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make (someone) feel worried or upset
formal : to disturb or bother (someone)
: to cause (someone) to feel pain


trou·​ble | \ ˈtrə-bəl How to pronounce trouble (audio) \

Kids Definition of trouble

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something that causes worry or distress : misfortune I've suffered many troubles.
2 : an instance of distress or disturbance Don't make trouble.
3 : extra work or effort They took the trouble to write.
4 : ill health : ailment "Your trouble comes from years of wearing the wrong kind of shoes," Jake lectured.— Ellen Raskin, The Westing Game
5 : failure to work normally He had trouble with the engine.


troubled; troubling

Kids Definition of trouble (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to become or make worried or upset … reading this book will make you feel anxious, because you will be troubled by the disturbing suspense …— Lemony Snicket, The Ersatz Elevator
2 : to produce physical disorder in : afflict He's troubled with weak knees.
3 : to put to inconvenience Don't trouble yourself; I can do it.
4 : to make an effort Do not trouble to write.


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