[ dif-i-kuhl-tee, -kuhl-tee ]
See synonyms for: difficultydifficulties on Thesaurus.com

noun,plural dif·fi·cul·ties.
  1. the fact or condition of being difficult.

  2. Often difficul·ties. an embarrassing situation, especially of financial affairs.

  1. a trouble or struggle.

  2. a cause of trouble, struggle, or embarrassment.

  3. a disagreement or dispute.

  4. reluctance; unwillingness.

  5. a demur; objection.

  6. something that is hard to do, understand, or surmount; an impediment or obstacle.

Origin of difficulty

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English difficulte, from Anglo-French, from Latin difficultās, equivalent to difficil(is) difficile + -tās -ty2

Other words for difficulty

Other words from difficulty

  • pre·dif·fi·cul·ty, noun, plural pre·dif·fi·cul·ties.

Words Nearby difficulty

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use difficulty in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for difficulty


/ (ˈdɪfɪkəltɪ) /

nounplural -ties
  1. the state or quality of being difficult

  2. a task, problem, etc, that is hard to deal with

  1. (often plural) a troublesome or embarrassing situation, esp a financial one

  2. a dispute or disagreement

  3. (often plural) an objection or obstacle: he always makes difficulties

  4. a trouble or source of trouble; worry

  5. lack of ease; awkwardness: he could run only with difficulty

Origin of difficulty

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