[ dif-i-kuhlt, -kuhlt ]
/ ˈdɪf ɪˌkʌlt, -kəlt /


Nearby words

  1. differentiate,
  2. differentiation,
  3. differentiator,
  4. differently,
  5. difficile,
  6. difficulty,
  7. diffidence,
  8. diffident,
  9. diffidently,
  10. diffluence

Origin of difficult

1350–1400; Middle English, back formation from difficulty

SYNONYMS FOR difficult
1. arduous. See hard. 2. intricate, perplexing, involved, knotty. 4. particular, finical, fussy. 5. obdurate, uncompromising.

Related forms
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for difficult

British Dictionary definitions for difficult


/ (ˈdɪfɪkəlt) /


not easy to do; requiring efforta difficult job
not easy to understand or solve; intricatea difficult problem
hard to deal with; troublesomea difficult child
not easily convinced, pleased, or satisfieda difficult audience
full of hardships or trialsdifficult times ahead
Derived Formsdifficultly, adverb

Word Origin for difficult

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

Word Origin and History for difficult



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