trou·ble | \ˈtrə-bəl \

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 \

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 \ 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

All my troubles, my tribulations, heartaches will be over. New York Times, "‘Totally Preventable’: How a Sick Woman Lost Electricity, and Her Life," 13 July 2018 Bees are currently experiencing an unprecedented decline in population, and according to a new study conducted by researchers from Royal Holloway University of London, their troubles are far from over. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "‘Safe’ Levels of Pesticide Still Hamper Bees’ Memory and Ability to Learn," 12 July 2018 Earlier reports suggested the Hammers were willing to listen to offers above £15m for Antonio after growing frustrated with his recent trouble with injuries, paving the way for the Eagles to attempt a swoop for the England international., "Crystal Palace Considering Move for Versatile £15m-Rated West Ham Midfielder," 12 July 2018 Meissner is known for representing a whistleblower who tipped the SEC off to accounting violations at Monsanto, and received $22 million for his troubles. Kevin Kelleher, Fortune, "Tesla Whistleblower Ups Ante, Making a Formal Complaint With the SEC," 12 July 2018 Cosino, who is Filipino and raised by his grandmother, said his mental health trouble began in high school. Laura Krantz,, "Mental health is a college stumbling block. For students of color, it can be a wall," 10 July 2018 Khloe Kardashian is opening up about her trouble with breastfeeding. Fox News, "Khloe Kardashian reveals she had to stop breastfeeding 2-month-old True Thompson," 10 July 2018 The stewards conducted an inquiry into the start before ruling both RAMONA LOVER and ALL NET were responsible for their own trouble. John Cherwa,, "Racing! Los Alamitos dealing with small fields," 9 July 2018 More: Johnny Depp's Rolling Stone interview does little to repair his big-spender reputation His financial troubles have followed personal woes. Andrea Mandell, USA TODAY, "Johnny Depp sued: Crew member alleges star punched him twice," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

That type of scheme could trouble a Kentucky defense still lacking experience on the second-team unit. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "How Kentucky football can win (or lose) against South Carolina," 6 July 2018 The risks of the interviews don’t trouble immigration hard-liners. Washington Post, "Attorneys: Parents in fragile state for asylum interviews," 6 July 2018 But when Erasmus’s estranged son is sent to prison, leaving Erasmus’s troubled young grandson Bill in his and Paul’s care, the couple adapt to the child’s needs. Andrew Fleming, New York Times, "Review: A Child Adds a Layer to Gay Couple’s ‘Ideal Home’," 28 June 2018 President Franklin Roosevelt met King Abdel Aziz in Egypt in 1945 after the Yalta summit, laying the foundation for an enduring, if troubled, alliance. The Economist, "From pearls to black goldHow oil transformed the Gulf," 21 June 2018 Panama, meanwhile, are troubled by a couple of injury concerns ahead of their Group G opener., "World Cup Preview: Belgium vs Panama - Recent Form, Key Battle, Team News, Prediction & More," 17 June 2018 Both changes troubled Brian O’Malley, president of the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance, a rider advocacy group. Colin Campbell,, "After one year of BaltimoreLink, ridership has bounced back, but reliability remains below goals," 15 June 2018 The Democrats are also troubled that Harris' proposal is temporary. Julia O'donoghue,, "Republican tax proposal moves forward, but might not have the votes to pass," 24 May 2018 Jordan, troubled on and off the field, was released in May 2017 with three sacks in 26 games. Chris Perkins,, "Dolphins have been relatively successful with draft-and-develop strategy recently," 18 Apr. 2018

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 2018

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)

: to make (someone) feel worried or upset

: to disturb or bother (someone)

: to cause (someone) to feel pain



English Language Learners Definition of trouble (Entry 2 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


trou·ble | \ˈtrə-bəl \

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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Comments on trouble

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