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  1. of the nature of a problem; doubtful; uncertain; questionable.
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Often prob·lem·at·i·cal.

Origin of problematic

1600–10; < Late Latin problēmaticus < Greek problēmatikós, equivalent to problēmat- (stem of próblēma) problem + -ikos -ic
Related formsprob·lem·at·i·cal·ly, adverbnon·prob·lem·at·ic, adjectivenon·prob·lem·at·i·cal, adjectivenon·prob·lem·at·i·cal·ly, adverbqua·si-prob·lem·at·ic, adjectiveun·prob·lem·at·ic, adjectiveun·prob·lem·at·i·cal, adjectiveun·prob·lem·at·i·cal·ly, adverb

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plural noun
  1. the uncertainties or difficulties inherent in a situation or plan.
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Origin of problematics

First recorded in 1955–60; see origin at problematic, -ics
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for problematic

tricky, ambiguous, uncertain, puzzling, unsettled, precarious, dubious, moot, questionable, arguable, chancy, debatable, disputable, doubtful, enigmatic, iffy, indecisive, open, suspect, dubitable

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Historical Examples of problematic

British Dictionary definitions for problematic



  1. having the nature or appearance of a problem; questionable
  2. logic obsolete (of a proposition) asserting that a property may or may not holdCompare apodeictic (def. 2), assertoric
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Derived Formsproblematically, adverb
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 problematic


c.1600, "doubtful, questionable," from French problematique (15c.), from Late Latin problematicus, from Greek problematikos "pertaining to a problem," from problematos, genitive of problema (see problem). Specific sense in logic, differentiating what is possible from what is necessarily true, is from 1610s. Related: Problematical (1560s); problematically.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper