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problem

[prob-luh m]
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noun
  1. any question or matter involving doubt, uncertainty, or difficulty.
  2. a question proposed for solution or discussion.
  3. Mathematics. a statement requiring a solution, usually by means of a mathematical operation or geometric construction.
adjective
  1. difficult to train or guide; unruly: a problem child.
  2. Literature. dealing with choices of action difficult either for an individual or for society at large: a problem play.
Idioms
  1. no problem, (used as a conventional reply to a request or to express confirmation, affirmation, or gratitude).

Origin of problem

1350–1400; Middle English probleme < Latin problēma < Greek próblēma orig., obstacle, (akin to probállein to throw or lay before), equivalent to pro- pro-2 + -blē-, variant stem of bállein to throw (cf. parabola) + -ma noun suffix of result
Related formssub·prob·lem, noun

Synonyms

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1, 2. puzzle, riddle, enigma.

Antonyms

1. certitude.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for problem

problem

noun
    1. any thing, matter, person, etc, that is difficult to deal with, solve, or overcome
    2. (as modifier)a problem child
  1. a puzzle, question, etc, set for solution
  2. maths a statement requiring a solution usually by means of one or more operations or geometric constructions
  3. (modifier) designating a literary work that deals with difficult moral questionsa problem play

Word Origin

C14: from Late Latin problēma, from Greek: something put forward; related to proballein to throw forwards, from pro- ² + ballein to throw
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

Word Origin and History for problem

n.

late 14c., "a difficult question proposed for solution," from Old French problème (14c.) and directly from Latin problema, from Greek problema "a task, that which is proposed, a question;" also "anything projecting, headland, promontory; fence, barrier;" also "a problem in geometry," literally "thing put forward," from proballein "propose," from pro "forward" (see pro-) + ballein "to throw" (see ballistics).

Meaning "a difficulty" is mid-15c. Mathematical sense is from 1560s in English. Problem child first recorded 1920. Phrase _______ problem in reference to a persistent and seemingly insoluble difficulty is attested at least from 1882, in Jewish problem. Response no problem "that is acceptable; that can be done without difficulty" is recorded from 1968.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with problem

problem

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.