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2017 Word of the Year

difficult

[dif-i-kuhlt, -kuh lt] /ˈdɪf ɪˌkʌlt, -kəlt/
adjective
1.
not easily or readily done; requiring much labor, skill, or planning to be performed successfully; hard:
a difficult job.
2.
hard to understand or solve:
a difficult problem.
3.
hard to deal with or get on with:
a difficult pupil.
4.
hard to please or satisfy:
a difficult employer.
5.
hard to persuade or induce; stubborn:
a difficult old man.
6.
disadvantageous; trying; hampering:
The operation was performed under the most difficult conditions.
7.
fraught with hardship, especially financial hardship:
We saw some difficult times during the depression years.
Origin of difficult
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English, back formation from difficulty
Related forms
difficultly, adverb
nondifficult, adjective
quasi-difficult, adjective
quasi-difficultly, adverb
superdifficult, adjective
superdifficultly, adverb
undifficult, adjective
undifficultly, adverb
Synonyms
1. arduous. See hard. 2. intricate, perplexing, involved, knotty. 4. particular, finical, fussy. 5. obdurate, uncompromising.
Antonyms
1. easy. 2. simple.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for difficult
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But when the morning came he found the task a difficult one to enter upon.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • Philippe acquainted her with the joys and griefs of his difficult profession.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • The ablutionary fluid is most difficult to be had in places where water is abundant.

  • At the moment of parting he began to realize that he had undertaken a difficult task.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • "I think you would find it a difficult undertaking," he said.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
British Dictionary definitions for difficult

difficult

/ˈdɪfɪkəlt/
adjective
1.
not easy to do; requiring effort: a difficult job
2.
not easy to understand or solve; intricate: a difficult problem
3.
hard to deal with; troublesome: a difficult child
4.
not easily convinced, pleased, or satisfied: a difficult audience
5.
full of hardships or trials: difficult times ahead
Derived Forms
difficultly, adverb
Word Origin
C14: back formation from difficulty
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for difficult
adj.

c.1400, apparently a back-formation from difficulty. French has difficile, Latin difficilis. Of persons, "hard to please," from 1580s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Word Value for difficult

18
21
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