- not easily or readily done; requiring much labor, skill, or planning to be performed successfully; hard: a difficult job.
- hard to understand or solve: a difficult problem.
- hard to deal with or get on with: a difficult pupil.
- hard to please or satisfy: a difficult employer.
- hard to persuade or induce; stubborn: a difficult old man.
- disadvantageous; trying; hampering: The operation was performed under the most difficult conditions.
- fraught with hardship, especially financial hardship: We saw some difficult times during the depression years.
Origin of difficult
1350–1400; Middle English, back formation from difficulty
SynonymsSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for difficultly
Computer-guided meditation is nice for those of us who have difficultly even understanding what focus feels like.High-Tech Meditation: Swap Your Yogi for a Headset
April 14, 2014
Relinquish, now, the hopes so long pursued,—so difficultly caught?The Wanderer (Volume 4 of 5)
“He told me there was no reason why I should not try my luck,” he said difficultly.The Valiants of Virginia
Hallie Erminie Rives
The radial may be so deeply situated in the wrist of a fat subject that it is difficultly palpable.Arteriosclerosis and Hypertension:
Louis Marshall Warfield
Arecaidine forms white crystals easily soluble in water, and difficultly soluble in alcohol.
By adding nitric acid to the solution, the chrysaniline is thrown down in the form of a difficultly soluble nitrate.Cooley's Practical Receipts, Volume II
- 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
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 difficultly
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