What does difficulty mean?

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

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage 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.


  1. difficulty

    Difficulty refers to the level of challenge, complexity, hardness, or obstacle present in a task, situation or process. It indicates the effort, skill, time, or resources required to complete a task or overcome a problem.

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. Nora Volkow:

    This has been an incredibly uncertain and stressful time for many people and we are seeing an increase in drug consumption, difficulty in accessing life-saving treatments for substance use disorders, and a tragic rise in overdose deaths.

  2. Jeff Gonzales:

    The difficulty largely stems from the smaller size ; which ironically is a main reason for purchase.

  3. Donald Trump:

    His state is having tremendous difficulty ... because they don't have any money.

  4. Francis Brown:

    Undoubtedly some people find it difficult to pay for needed medication. They will also have difficulty in meeting their rent and food bills, it is a matter of inadequate income rather than excessive prices.

  5. George Santayana:

    The great difficulty in education is to get experience out of ideas.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for difficulty

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"difficulty." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 2 Mar. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/difficulty>.

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    the act of making a noisy disturbance
    • A. emanate
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