Synonyms & Antonyms of problem

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 something that requires thought and skill for resolution
  • the problem of world hunger

Synonyms for problem

Words Related to problem

Near Antonyms for problem

Antonyms for problem

2 an interrogative expression often used to test knowledge
  • there were only 10 problems on the exam, but they were all challenging

Synonyms for problem

Words Related to problem

Near Antonyms for problem



Synonyms & Antonyms of problem (Entry 2 of 2)

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About problem

How does the noun problem differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of problem are enigma, mystery, puzzle, and riddle. While all these words mean "something which baffles or perplexes," problem applies to a question or difficulty calling for a solution or causing concern.

problems created by high technology

In what contexts can enigma take the place of problem?

While the synonyms enigma and problem are close in meaning, enigma applies to utterance or behavior that is very difficult to interpret.

his suicide remains an enigma

When could mystery be used to replace problem?

Although the words mystery and problem have much in common, mystery applies to what cannot be fully understood by reason or less strictly to whatever resists or defies explanation.

the mystery of the stone monoliths

Where would puzzle be a reasonable alternative to problem?

The words puzzle and problem are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, puzzle applies to an enigma or problem that challenges ingenuity for its solution.

the thief's motives were a puzzle for the police

When might riddle be a better fit than problem?

In some situations, the words riddle and problem are roughly equivalent. However, riddle suggests an enigma or problem involving paradox or apparent contradiction.

the riddle of the reclusive pop star

Learn More About problem

Time Traveler for problem

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Thesaurus Entries Near problem




See More Nearby Entries 

Cite this Entry

“Problem.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on problem

Nglish: Translation of problem for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of problem for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about problem


Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Words You Should Know

  • hedgehog reading a book
  • Often used to describe “the march of time,” what does inexorable mean?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!