View synonyms for problematic


[ prob-luh-mat-ik ]


  1. of the nature of a problem; doubtful; uncertain; questionable:

    We've discussed the problematic benefits of the treatment.

    Synonyms: ambiguous, dubious, unsettled, indeterminate, unsure

  2. involving or presenting a problem that is difficult to deal with or solve:

    She faces a problematic decision.

  3. tending or likely to elicit objections or disapproval; offensive: We've all had to deal with problematic relatives during the holidays.

    My ex-boyfriend's political opinions were often embarrassingly problematic.

    We've all had to deal with problematic relatives during the holidays.


/ ˌprɒbləˈmætɪk /


  1. having the nature or appearance of a problem; questionable
  2. obsolete.
    logic (of a proposition) asserting that a property may or may not hold Compare apodeictic assertoric

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Derived Forms

  • ˌproblemˈatically, adverb

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Other Words From

  • prob·lem·at·i·cal·ly adverb
  • non·prob·lem·at·ic adjective
  • non·prob·lem·at·i·cal adjective
  • non·prob·lem·at·i·cal·ly adverb
  • qua·si-prob·lem·at·ic adjective
  • un·prob·lem·at·ic adjective
  • un·prob·lem·at·i·cal adjective
  • un·prob·lem·at·i·cal·ly adverb

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Word History and Origins

Origin of problematic1

First recorded in 1600–10; from Late Latin problēmaticus, from Greek problēmatikós, equivalent to problēmat- (stem of próblēma ) problem + -ikos -ic

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Example Sentences

That’s problematic, because it limits the scope of who could be reached and the scale at which it could have impact.

That Republicans are much less likely to express concern about how the virus manifests in other problematic ways.

Right now, though, in the context of uncontrolled spread of Covid-19, even a reduced risk of transmission could still lead to problematic levels of new infection.

From Vox

Given temperatures settling near 30 overnight, even a little rain could be problematic if it freezes on contact.

That’s why, to Pekar, “Sundays With Love” is more problematic than more secular teachers — so long as they don’t use too many swear words during the ride, she said in an interview.

But in the Digital Age, we're at risk of a new type of hoarding that is equally problematic.

But concern about the lake is fuelling hostilities that could prove problematic for the government and investors.

To be clear, unilateral Democratic control is just as problematic as the reverse.

However, in cases like Iraq and Syria, that can be problematic.

In his mind, this is only as problematic as the decrease in international support that it may cause.

Their labour and hard-earned money were risked when the return was still problematic.

Or would he not take it without rendering such problematic service?

Thought must be reserved for the new, the precarious, the problematic.

The adjoining state of Tennessee was represented in the Senate by one of the most problematic characters in American history.

And still Gavan managed double duty during the last weeks of the fateful old year and the early days of the problematic new.