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

Day and his offensive staff have designed a spread passing game with pro-style concepts that should give plenty of defenses trouble. Doug Lesmerises,, "Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields showed in two throws everything he can be," 8 Sep. 2019 The single-engine crop-dusting plane landed at about 2:40 p.m. in a cornfield off Tall Timber Road in the Berlin, Md., area after the pilot reported engine trouble, police said. Martin Weil, Washington Post, "Plane burns after emergency landing in field near Ocean City," 8 Sep. 2019 Biden’s campaign has spelled trouble for Ryan ever since the former vice president jumped into the race in late April. Fox News, "Rep. Tim Ryan won't back off comment that Biden is 'declining'," 8 Sep. 2019 The possibility of Diaz vs. Masvidal was put in jeopardy in recent days as the welterweight title picture grew murky because of reported negotiation trouble to book champion Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington. Mike Bohn, MMA Junkie, "Nate Diaz vs. Jorge Masvidal to headline UFC 244 in New York," 7 Sep. 2019 Realizing that balls put in play were going to be huge trouble at that point, manager Craig Counsell summoned Josh Hader, who struck out Nicholas Castellano on three pitches. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers 3, Cubs 2: Christian Yelich gives Brewers a victory they had to have with walk-off double," 7 Sep. 2019 After last last week’s mass shooting following the Williamson-LeFlore game, there was no reported trouble this week. Reports, al, "Mobile HS football: Murphy rallies to beat Fairhope, Williamson wins in return to Ladd," 7 Sep. 2019 While the index suggests spending will continue to grow modestly, any further deterioriation would spell trouble for the economy., "Will it be recession or expansion? This jobs report lets you take your pick," 6 Sep. 2019 Brown, in contrast, has caused nothing but trouble for the Raiders all summer. Kent Somers, azcentral, "Antonio Brown gives Cardinals a reason to be thankful for Larry Fitzgerald," 5 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Her breast—usually the left one—is exposed, troubled by a slender asp her own hand has guided voluptuously toward her nipple. Anne Boyer, Harper's magazine, "Bed Death & Beyond," 19 Aug. 2019 If anyone was troubled by the decision, few said so publicly at the time. Ken Ward Jr., ProPublica, "Welcome to the Greenbrier, the Governor-Owned Luxury Resort Filled With Conflicts of Interest," 15 Aug. 2019 Salazar, troubled by injuries to his right arm the last two seasons, pitched Thursday for the first time since the 2017 AL Division Series., "Messi suspended three months for remarks," 2 Aug. 2019 Dodson seemed especially troubled by a provision that gives the governor power to remove officials from office, when the Constitution allows him to only suspend officials on other grounds. Sun Sentinel Editorial Board,, "A judge provides much-needed sanity on Florida gun laws | Editorial," 30 July 2019 During the 2017 Eagle Creek fire, Lannen had embers land on his front porch, and last year was troubled by images of California drivers stuck in long lines of traffic as flames raged along the side of the roads leading out of Paradise. Hal Bernton, The Seattle Times, "As wildfire risk grows west of Cascades, homeowners urged to better protect their homes," 30 July 2019 The Unicode Consortium, which oversees emoji development, seemed annoyed, but not entirely troubled, by Ford’s announcement. Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge, "Ford secretly proposed a pickup truck emoji, and it might make it to our phones next year," 17 July 2019 Walker said conservatives are troubled by polls showing large numbers of younger Americans are sympathetic to socialism or feel less pride in their country than do older Americans. Craig Gilbert, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Former Gov. Scott Walker to take the helm of conservative group, says he won't run for office in 2022," 15 July 2019 England looked composed and assured for nearly the entirety of this match, rarely being troubled by their opponents., "England 3-0 Cameroon: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Lionesses Roar Into Quarter Finals," 23 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

11 Sep 2019

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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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