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2017 Word of the Year

difficulty

[dif-i-kuhl-tee, -kuh l-tee] /ˈdɪf ɪˌkʌl ti, -kəl ti/
noun, plural difficulties.
1.
the fact or condition of being difficult.
2.
Often, difficulties. an embarrassing situation, especially of financial affairs.
3.
a trouble or struggle.
4.
a cause of trouble, struggle, or embarrassment.
5.
a disagreement or dispute.
6.
reluctance; unwillingness.
7.
a demur; objection.
8.
something that is hard to do, understand, or surmount; an impediment or obstacle.
Origin of difficulty
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English difficulte (< Anglo-French) < Latin difficultās, equivalent to difficil(is) difficile + -tās -ty2
Related forms
predifficulty, noun, plural predifficulties.
Synonyms
2. dilemma, predicament, quandary, plight, fix, exigency, strait. 3. problem.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for difficulty
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Mr. Paine looked up as he entered, and had no difficulty in guessing his errand.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • She managed it with difficulty between the convulsions that were rending her.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • But there is one difficulty which it is impossible to remove.

    The Grand Old Man Richard B. Cook
  • He climbed down with difficulty, clutching one hand with the other.

    Way of the Lawless Max Brand
  • You think of your wife, grappling with a kind of difficulty to which she is unaccustomed.

British Dictionary definitions for difficulty

difficulty

/ˈdɪfɪkəltɪ/
noun (pl) -ties
1.
the state or quality of being difficult
2.
a task, problem, etc, that is hard to deal with
3.
(often pl) a troublesome or embarrassing situation, esp a financial one
4.
a dispute or disagreement
5.
(often pl) an objection or obstacle: he always makes difficulties
6.
a trouble or source of trouble; worry
7.
lack of ease; awkwardness: he could run only with difficulty
Word Origin
C14: from Latin difficultās, from difficilis difficult, from dis- not + facilis easy, facile
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 difficulty
n.

late 14c., from Old French difficulté, from Latin difficultatem (nominative difficultas) "difficulty, distress, poverty," from difficilis "hard," from dis- "not, away from" (see dis-) + facilis "easy" (see facile).

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

22
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