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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The trouble comes when scientists, and journal editors, oversell these findings, said Eric Turkheimer, a psychologist at the University of Virginia. Megan Molteni, STAT, 24 May 2022 Tourists often ask, Why go to all the trouble to protect this small family of chimpanzees? Christine Chitnis, ELLE, 24 May 2022 The trouble, from a climate perspective, is that neither of these camps is especially interested in decarbonization as such. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, 23 May 2022 The trouble began when the administration decided initially to exclude antidemocratic leaders from Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, drawing the ire of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Los Angeles Times, 23 May 2022 Nevertheless, somebody had taken the trouble to place stone and wooden replicas, some of them life-size, around the luxurious grounds of Hale Komodo. William Finnegan, The New Yorker, 23 May 2022 The trouble was underway last weekend by 7:30 p.m. Saturday when Seandell and another teen got into a fight in the 200 block of East Randolph Street. Stephanie Casanova, Chicago Tribune, 22 May 2022 The trouble, Hurteau said, is that past fire footprints chosen for the research are in the line of fire again this year. Susan Montoya Bryan, ajc, 22 May 2022 Beefing for turf between the brats and the zukes is worth the trouble, because even a few minutes over fire or gathering smoke inside a closed grill can do great things for summer fruits. M. Carrie Allan, Washington Post, 20 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb That is to say, don’t trouble yourselves, boys and girls. Maxim Osipov, The Atlantic, 16 May 2022 Even the increasing sloppy mud didn’t seem to trouble him. Roger Robinson, Outside Online, 10 Apr. 2022 Their defense has only been around league average since the break, which isn’t enough to trouble this Suns team. Jeremy Cluff, The Arizona Republic, 30 Mar. 2022 Last summer, something other than COVID-19 began to trouble Eddi Ortiz. Ruben Vives, Los Angeles Times, 10 Jan. 2022 The gain in stability is worth the hassle and sacrifice of pillar 1, but there’s one thing that continues to trouble me about the compromise. Robert Goulder, Forbes, 17 Mar. 2022 The next one to trouble us could be like Delta, speedy and a shade more severe yet still trounceable with existing vaccines. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 9 Mar. 2022 Even if Cincinnati’s wide receivers can trouble the Rams’ secondary, Aaron Donald and Von Miller are disruptive enough to stop a couple of scoring drives. Baltimore Sun Staff,, 11 Feb. 2022 But the downside of remote work — particularly the deleterious effects on mentorship and person-to-person interactions that shape company culture — still trouble corporate leaders. Washington Post, 15 Jan. 2022 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

26 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Trouble.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for trouble


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on trouble

Nglish: Translation of trouble for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of trouble for Arabic Speakers


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