What does difficulty mean?

Definitions for difficulty
ˈdɪf ɪˌkʌl ti, -kəl tidif·fi·cul·ty

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word difficulty.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. trouble, difficultynoun

    an effort that is inconvenient

    "I went to a lot of trouble"; "he won without any trouble"; "had difficulty walking"; "finished the test only with great difficulty"

  2. difficultynoun

    a factor causing trouble in achieving a positive result or tending to produce a negative result

    "serious difficulties were encountered in obtaining a pure reagent"

  3. difficultynoun

    a condition or state of affairs almost beyond one's ability to deal with and requiring great effort to bear or overcome

    "grappling with financial difficulties"

  4. difficulty, difficultnessnoun

    the quality of being difficult

    "they agreed about the difficulty of the climb"


  1. difficultynoun

    The state of being difficult, or hard to do.

  2. difficultynoun

    An obstacle that hinders achievement of a goal.

    We faced a difficulty.

  3. Etymology: From difficultee, from difficulté, from difficultas, from difficul, older form of difficilis, from dis- + facilis; see difficile and difficult.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Difficultynoun

    Etymology: from difficult; difficultè, French.

    The religion which, by this covenant, we engage ourselves to observe, is a work of labour and difficulty; a service that requires our greatest care and attention to the discharge of it. John Rogers, Serm. 13.

    They mistake difficulties for impossibilities: a pernicious mistake certainly; and the more pernicious, for that men are seldom convinced of it, ’till their convictions do them no good. Robert South, Sermons.

    Thus, by degrees, he rose to Jove’s imperial seat:
    Thus difficulties prove a soul legitimately great. Dryden.

    They lie at present under some difficulties, by reason of the emperor’s displeasure, who has forbidden the importation of their manufactures. Joseph Addison, on Italy.

    Men should consider, that raising difficulties concerning the mysteries in religion, cannot make them more wise, learned, or virtuous. Jonathan Swift.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Difficultynoun

    the state of being difficult, or hard to do; hardness; arduousness; -- opposed to easiness or facility; as, the difficulty of a task or enterprise; a work of difficulty

  2. Difficultynoun

    something difficult; a thing hard to do or to understand; that which occasions labor or perplexity, and requires skill and perseverance to overcome, solve, or achieve; a hard enterprise; an obstacle; an impediment; as, the difficulties of a science; difficulties in theology

  3. Difficultynoun

    a controversy; a falling out; a disagreement; an objection; a cavil

  4. Difficultynoun

    embarrassment of affairs, especially financial affairs; -- usually in the plural; as, to be in difficulties

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. difficulty

    A word unknown to true salts.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'difficulty' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #1652

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'difficulty' in Written Corpus Frequency: #1772

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'difficulty' in Nouns Frequency: #323

How to pronounce difficulty?

How to say difficulty in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of difficulty in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of difficulty in Pythagorean Numerology is: 7

Examples of difficulty in a Sentence

  1. Amy Oakes:

    She was diagnosed in first grade after there were some difficulties in the classroom, but there were other components to it -- there was oppositional defiant disorder, there were some [autism] spectrum-like behaviors, and difficulty later on socializing with other children.

  2. Vitor Constancio:

    To change the demographic trends, promoting birth is not enough. It also has to be done through immigration. If not, we're creating a great difficulty to growth and to the welfare of future generations.

  3. Philippe Bianchi:

    If he were to have severe handicaps, we are convinced that is not at all what Jules would want, we talked about it. He told us that if one day he had an accident like Michael Schumacher's, even if his only handicap was not being able to drive, he would have a lot of difficulty living with it. Because it was his life.

  4. Steve Nichols:

    It's a big rigamarole and generally people don't try to move CJIS data into the cloud because of the difficulty and cost, but it's starting to happen.

  5. Olivier Ponti:

    The world's largest and highest spending outbound travel market, China, is in severe difficulty; cancellations are growing by the day and the trend is now spreading to surrounding countries.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for difficulty

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for difficulty »


Find a translation for the difficulty definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:

Discuss these difficulty definitions with the community:



    Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


    "difficulty." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 10 Aug. 2022. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/difficulty>.

    Are we missing a good definition for difficulty? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Browse Definitions.net

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!


    Are you a words master?

    lever that activates the firing mechanism of a gun
    • A. humility
    • B. gauge
    • C. vehicle
    • D. trigger

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for difficulty: