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 news followed reports that Japan Display is having financial troubles and was seeking investment from Apple to stay afloat. Don Reisinger, Fortune, "Jony Ive's Departure Means Big Changes Are Coming to Apple," 29 June 2019 They’re met in some places by sheriffs who are willing to shoot, although the strikers’ leaders do not want trouble. Mary Ann Grossmann, Twin Cities, "Minnesota author digs into the Mesaba mining strike for debut ‘Under Ground’," 29 June 2019 Woodruff cruised through the second, third and fourth innings before finding some trouble in the fifth. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers 3, Pirates 1: Brandon Woodruff becomes the first 10-game winner in National League," 29 June 2019 Some industry experts have suggested that new challengers could mean trouble for Netflix. Tara Law, Time, "'The Office' Is Officially Leaving Netflix. But You Still Have Time to Watch It," 27 June 2019 Hikers, kayakers, campers, and climbers should be educated and well-equipped to coexist with wildlife to avoid unnecessary troubles. Lauren Eckert, National Geographic, "See Vancouver like a Nat Geo Explorer," 27 June 2019 Even a lack of luster could spell trouble for the 76-year-old former senator from Delaware. Jonathan Allen, NBC News, "On Night Two, Biden is at the center of the debate storm," 27 June 2019 Children, the elderly and people with lung diseases or heart trouble are most at risk. CBS News, "Smoke from wildfires increases health risks for millions of Americans," 25 June 2019 With Birch, who was starting in place of an ill Vucevic, in foul trouble, Jefferson delivered a six-point, seven-rebound performance as the Magic won 122-114 and clinched the seventh seed in the playoffs. Roy Parry,, "Magic extend qualifying offers to Khem Birch, Amile Jefferson," 25 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But the changes mean that flights are sometimes concentrated into more narrow corridors, which troubles residents on the ground. Washington Post, "House passes amendment to prioritize efforts to combat airplane, helicopter noise," 26 June 2019 But what really troubled the auditors was the level of gang activity at the prison—and the employees’ tolerance of it. Joseph Neff And Alysia Santo, USA TODAY, "What happened when this prison couldn't hire enough guards? It put gangs in charge," 25 June 2019 For months, the county’s troubled Probation Department has been dogged by reports that its detention officers have been using pepper spray at alarmingly high rates to control and discipline youths in juvenile facilities. Maya Lau,, "Plan to phase out pepper spray this year at L.A.'s juvenile halls hits a potential snag," 25 June 2019 Benatar made some massive hits of the ‘80s, many of which alluded to a romantic landscape that was troubled and even dangerous. John Adamian,, "Female rockers Pat Benatar, Melissa Etheridge and Liz Phair at Foxwoods," 21 June 2019 There is a power in wielding a camera, too, and that’s what can make some of Sassen’s pictures troubling. Andrea K. Scott, The New Yorker, "A Photographer’s Ode to the Women of Versailles," 20 June 2019 According to sources, the Cavs gave up what will likely amount to three future second-round picks and cash for the talented, but troubled, lefty. Chris Fedor,, "NBA Draft 2019: Cleveland Cavaliers trade for third first-round pick, take Kevin Porter Jr. at No. 30," 20 June 2019 Now new troubled has bubbled up for LaCroix in Massachusetts. Isaac Feldberg,, "Technically, LaCroix’s illegal in Massachusetts. Here’s why," 20 June 2019 Duda, in his press conference with Trump, laid out Poland’s troubling history with Moscow, including the Soviet occupation of the country during World War II and its influence over the country during the Cold War. Jen Kirby, Vox, "Poland and US beef up security cooperation with additional troop rotations," 12 June 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

3 Jul 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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