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. Suzanne Steinbaum:

    If you’re exercising and you have symptoms of chest discomfort, not just shortness of breath, but real difficulty getting air in, stop. If you don’t recover quickly and it happens again, go see your doctor.

  2. Dong Yaohui:

    The Great Wall is a vast heritage site -- over 20,000 kilometers -- hence increasing the difficulty in preservation and restoration, reliance on a very small amount of manpower by the local heritage departments is not enough to guard and protect the site.

  3. Syed Akbaruddin:

    Last night, the Maldives foreign minister contacted us saying they were facing a grave emergency, for the next seven to eight days they are going to face extreme difficulty with water so they requested all assistance.

  4. Anne Frank, from The Diary of a Young Girl, January 5, 1944:

    I go into ecstasies every time I see the naked figure of a woman, such as Venus, for example. It strikes me as so wonderful and exquisite that I have difficulty in stopping the tears rolling down my cheeks.

  5. Anthony Fauci:

    The issue with hospitalization is a little bit more puzzling, because although the hospitalizations are going up, it is very clear their use of ICU beds has not increased, so are the numbers of hospitalizations a real reflection of Covid cases, or is there a difficulty deciphering between people coming into the hospital with Covid or because of Covid ?

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for difficulty

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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    in or of the month preceding the present one
    • A. soft-witted
    • B. ultimo
    • C. proprietary
    • D. arbitrary

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