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 Since her husband was taken on Feb. 1, Hnin Wai Lwin has had trouble sleeping and has lost her appetite. Washington Post, "An American success story is lost in Myanmar’s coup," 1 Mar. 2021 Even a cold, uncooked soup like gazpacho can mean trouble. John Mariani, Forbes, "Even When Covid Goes Away, You Still Need To Take These Health Precautions When You Eat Out," 1 Mar. 2021 Patients report brain fog, an inability to multitask, trouble breathing, gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea, as well as profound fatigue. Erika Edwards, NBC News, "Inside 'post-Covid' clinics: How specialized centers are trying to treat long-haulers," 1 Mar. 2021 Freshman Dawson Garcia gave UConn trouble that night and will again be a challenge inside. Dom Amore,, "UConn men vs. Marquette: What you need to know as Huskies’ NCAA resume-building continues," 27 Feb. 2021 But Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, fears trouble ahead. Christopher Snowbeck, Star Tribune, "Minnesota's COVID cases are down, but for how long?," 27 Feb. 2021 For years, Pioner had avoided trouble with authorities. Ben Mauk, The New Yorker, "Inside Xinjiang’s Prison State," 27 Feb. 2021 Even when chargers are fully functional, issues can arise such as plugs becoming unseated, chargers rebooting, and cars and chargers having trouble communicating, all of which can interrupt a charging session or lead to longer charge times. Christopher Mims, WSJ, "What’s Missing in the Electric-Vehicle Revolution: Enough Places to Plug In," 27 Feb. 2021 If wounds there have trouble healing, doctors might use skin grafts or transfer muscles from other parts of the body for coverage of that bone. Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times, "Tiger Woods moved to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for recovery after rollover crash," 26 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The widespread white villainy in the plays either did not register with Wilson’s white admirers or did not trouble them. Jake Lamar, The New Republic, "August Wilson’s Uncompromising Vision for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom," 14 Jan. 2021 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

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

3 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Trouble.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
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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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