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

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 : pregnancy out of wedlock 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 troubling (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 troubler (audio) \ noun

Examples of trouble in a Sentence


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.


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

The project has faced 16 years of trouble, including a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation of Mills Corp. The company reportedly paid $165 million plus interest to settle the case, and sold the project. Johnny Joo, Smithsonian, "The Rise of the Zombie Mall," 18 Sep. 2019 Twenty years ago the Yankees might be in trouble with this postseason rotation. Tom Verducci,, "The Yankees Will Play by Their Own Pitching Rules in October," 16 Sep. 2019 Still, Trump allies on the ground in South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona and Kansas moved in recent days to cancel their 2020 primary contests altogether to eliminate the possibility of trouble. CBS News, "Iowa and New Hampshire won't cancel 2020 GOP primaries," 11 Sep. 2019 However, there's also the possibility of her working with Winston to share what really happened to Bryce, which can cause trouble with her and her friends. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "All the Ways Everyone in "13 Reasons Why" Can Go to Jail in Season 4," 9 Sep. 2019 Lefty Drew Pomeranz took over for the Brewers in the sixth and found trouble with a pair of one-out hits by Anthony Rizzo and Javy Báez. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers 2, Cubs 0: With injury-thinned lineup, Brewers make two first-inning runs stand up," 31 Aug. 2019 Growing up in Compton, her mom tried to get her involved in as many activities as possible to keep her out of trouble, including pageants and fashion shows. Shalwah Evans, Essence, "Lesley Thornton Is Putting Some Skin In The Game With Her Brand KLUR," 29 Aug. 2019 Torrey Pines put the Dons in trouble with a 7-3 start in the final set. Terry Monahan, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Volleyball fans given their wish in California Challenge," 24 Aug. 2019 My father quickly realized that my deep interest and passion for angling was something that could possibly keep me out of trouble and off the streets. Jim Gronaw,, "Jim Gronaw: When kids go fishing, it sure is fun," 24 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The storybook aspect aside, though, whom does Salzburg have in uniform who could trouble the likes of Napoli and Liverpool? Avi Creditor,, "History-Making American Marsch, Salzburg Have Fearless Approach for UCL Task," 16 Sep. 2019 Research suggests that the presence of traditional elders and employment opportunities, rather than more cops and prosecutors alone, would reduce suicide, alcohol abuse and other problems that have troubled Alaska communities. Kyle Hopkins, Anchorage Daily News, "Justice Department will fund more prosecutors, cops in rural Alaska," 14 Sep. 2019 Research suggests that the presence of traditional elders and employment opportunities, rather than more cops and prosecutors alone, would reduce suicide, alcohol abuse and other problems that have troubled Alaska communities. Kyle Hopkins, ProPublica, "Justice Department Will Fund More Prosecutors, Jails and Cops in Rural Alaska," 13 Sep. 2019 Elko spoke out about what troubled the 2013 Crimson Tide, which lost two straight to end the season including the infamous Kick 6 game at Auburn. Mark Heim |, al, "Dr. Kevin Elko: Nick Saban likes way Alabama is going about its business," 12 Sep. 2019 For now, the past will continue to trouble the present. L.s. | Seoul, The Economist, "Why Japan and South Korea bicker," 3 Sep. 2019 Riley said that before breakdancing, he was somewhat lost and troubled. Josiah Lemm / Blaine High School, Twin Cities, "ThreeSixty Journalism: Bringing hip-hop to Hopkins," 31 Aug. 2019 The hospital also decided to change the policy after a number of patients opted to sleep on the floor rather than sit upright overnight — a sight that troubled some hospital staff, Leary said. Dominic Fracassa,, "SF General relaxes policy that tries to keep psychiatric ER patients awake to shorten visits," 28 Aug. 2019 Also troubling: For every year younger that someone was exposed to tackle football, the start of cognitive problems occurred 2.4 years earlier and behavioral and mood problems started 2.5 years earlier, according to the study. Mark Hyman, The Denver Post, "Guest Commentary: Children, tackle football and possible dangers of brain diseases," 25 Aug. 2019

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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Statistics for trouble

Last Updated

9 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for trouble

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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on trouble

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with trouble

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for trouble

Spanish Central: Translation of trouble

Nglish: Translation of trouble for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of trouble for Arabic Speakers

Comments on trouble

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