trou·​bling | \ ˈtrə-b(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce troubling (audio) \

Definition of troubling

: causing feelings of worry or anxiety a troubling news report It's not just trauma survivors who may be distracted or derailed by shocking or troubling material …— Angus Johnston

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Other Words from troubling

troublingly adverb

Examples of troubling in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

In one troubling scene, footage is shown of Bobbi Kristina at an unknown age lurched over an iPad, snorting a powdered substance. Janine Rubenstein,, "New Whitney Houston Doc Shows Daughter Bobbi Kristina Using Drugs, Hints at Suicide Attempt: 'She Hated Her Life'," 18 May 2018 This exercise produced a troubling finding: Anywhere from 94 percent to 70 percent of the portfolio managers for American-registered funds at the biggest companies are men. Jeff Sommer, New York Times, "Who Runs Mutual Funds? Very Few Women," 4 May 2018 That troubling scene gives way to one set in an office, where, having prevailed over a man to win her job, the hitherto-sympathetic Marlene seems to be emulating some of the worst aspects of male behavior. Don Aucoin,, "A top-notch ‘Top Girls’ at the Huntington," 26 Apr. 2018 The tragedy underscores a troubling fact: Although recalls are issued for safety defects, nearly a third of the vehicles on American roads have recalls that have not been repaired. Holly V. Hays, Indianapolis Star, "Dad dies saving daughter from icy pond. The car's brakes had been recalled.," 9 Apr. 2018 But there remain troubling scenes in multiple films that, especially now, jar with Ringwald’s feminist politics, especially when watching them with her daughter. Bridget Read, Vogue, "Molly Ringwald Reckons With John Hughes Movies Post-#MeToo," 6 Apr. 2018 But while the numbers were up, nesting patterns revealed a troubling pattern continues. Jenny Staletovich, miamiherald, "Record rain led to bonanza year for Florida’s wading birds. Just not in the right places | Miami Herald," 29 Mar. 2018 However, prioritizing revenue over what may be in the best interest of a patient as determined by the physician is deeply troubling. WSJ, "Costs Convert Hospitals Into One-Stop Shops," 6 Jan. 2019 Her account is deeply troubling and, for those who care to better understand the scandal, a must-read. Paul Thornton,, "Trump shouldn't 'hereby demand' anything from the Justice Dept.," 26 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'troubling.' 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 troubling

14th century, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

20 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for troubling

The first known use of troubling was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for troubling



English Language Learners Definition of troubling

: causing feelings of worry : disturbing or upsetting

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Comments on troubling

What made you want to look up troubling? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the range of authority or knowledge

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