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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun For now, Green is consistently in Wiseman’s ear about getting in a defensive stance and moving his feet to stay out of foul trouble. Rusty Simmons,, "Why Warriors rookie James Wiseman’s start is impressive beyond his numbers," 9 Jan. 2021 Uneven but ultimately sweetly satisfying, ABC’s other big Marvel series had a lot of trouble figuring out its identity. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, "The 20 best TV shows on Disney+ to watch right now," 6 Jan. 2021 One bill package signed into law will seal juvenile court records from public view and create a process to automatically expunge juvenile records for those who stay out of trouble. Angie Jackson, Detroit Free Press, "Whitmer signs bills to curb license suspensions, dozens of criminal justice reforms," 5 Jan. 2021 In a remarkable turnaround over the past few years — and in a sign of trouble for Johnson — polls now consistently show majority support in Scotland for independence. Los Angeles Times, "Auld lang syne: Britain and the EU finally part ways," 31 Dec. 2020 The main source of trouble: an unhealthy mix of payers and services performed. Til Schuermann And Helen Leis, STAT, "We stress tested banks in 2009. We need to do the same thing now for U.S. hospital systems," 29 Dec. 2020 With his job increasingly on the line after an alarming start to the season, Mikel Arteta placed his faith in Arsenal's kids to get the team out of trouble. Steve Douglas, ajc, "Youngsters deliver for Arsenal as scrutiny shifts to Lampard," 26 Dec. 2020 Does a mutant version of the virus pose a much deeper level of trouble? Tribune News Service, oregonlive, "Does a mutant strain of coronavirus pose a much deeper level of danger? Q&A with scientists," 25 Dec. 2020 Does a mutant version of the virus pose a much deeper level of trouble? Gary Robbins, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Scientists scramble to determine if mutant strain of coronavirus will deepen pandemic," 24 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Ignoring a clear constitutional provision would trouble many Americans, but the Court has done this itself more than once when societal consensus strongly backed the move, such as by . . . WSJ, "Notable & Quotable: Harvard Law Review," 3 Dec. 2020 In the country’s early years, some legislatures did not trouble themselves to involve their citizens in choosing the president. Austin Sarat, The Conversation, "Trump invitation to Michigan lawmakers could spark state and federal political crisis," 19 Nov. 2020 That should trouble all of us who crave real news reporting as the First Amendment intended--without friends to favor or axes to grind. Mike Masterson, Arkansas Online, "OPINION | MASTERSON ONLINE: A dinosaur roars," 31 Oct. 2020 Another issue that might trouble us and the federal government is that Native American nations in our region view the wolf as brother and companion. Adrian Treves, Star Tribune, "The bloody consequences of delisting wolves," 30 Oct. 2020 But a Catagory 1 shouldn’t trouble the port too much, Chaison said. Tristan Baurick,, "Hurricane Zeta to become 5th named storm to hit Louisiana in unprecedented season," 26 Oct. 2020 Officials said the tax records seem to reflect other Trump traits that would probably trouble counterintelligence experts. Author: Greg Miller, Yeganeh Torbati, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump’s debts and foreign deals pose security risks, former intelligence officials say," 29 Sep. 2020 But because Silberman, of Lincolnwood, is the child of two Holocaust survivors, the findings trouble her. Daniel I. Dorfman,, "After national survey reveals ignorance of Holocaust, local Jews, Skokie museum resolve to continue education," 29 Sep. 2020 At the moment, this doesn’t seem to trouble the president. Libby Watson, The New Republic, "Trumpian Politics Is the Greatest Threat to a Coronavirus Vaccine," 8 Sep. 2020

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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Time Traveler for trouble

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for trouble

Last Updated

14 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Trouble.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for trouble


How to pronounce trouble (audio)

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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Comments on trouble

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