[ truhb-uhl ]
See synonyms for: troubletroubledtroublestroubling on

verb (used with object),trou·bled, trou·bling.
  1. to disturb the mental calm and contentment of; worry; distress; agitate.

  2. to put to inconvenience, exertion, pains, or the like: May I trouble you to shut the door?

  1. to cause bodily pain, discomfort, or disorder to; afflict: to be troubled by arthritis.

  2. to annoy, vex, or bother: Don't trouble her with petty complaints now.

  3. to disturb, agitate, or stir up so as to make turbid, as water or wine: A heavy gale troubled the ocean waters.

verb (used without object),trou·bled, trou·bling.
  1. to put oneself to inconvenience, extra effort, or the like.

  2. to be distressed or agitated mentally; worry: She always troubled over her son's solitariness.

  1. difficulty, annoyance, or harassment: It would be no trouble at all to advise you.

  2. unfortunate or distressing position, circumstance, or occurrence; misfortune: Financial trouble may threaten security.

  1. civil disorder, disturbance, or conflict: political trouble in the new republic; labor troubles.

  2. a physical disorder, disease, ailment, etc.; ill health: heart trouble; stomach trouble.

  3. mental or emotional disturbance or distress; worry: Trouble and woe were her lot in life.

  4. an instance of this: some secret trouble weighing on his mind; a mother who shares all her children's troubles.

  5. effort, exertion, or pains in doing something; inconvenience endured in accomplishing some action, deed, etc.: The results were worth the trouble it took.

  6. an objectionable feature; problem; drawback: The trouble with your proposal is that it would be too costly to implement.

  7. something or someone that is a cause or source of disturbance, distress, annoyance, etc.

  8. a personal habit or trait that is a disadvantage or a cause of mental distress: His greatest trouble is oversensitivity.

  9. the Troubles,

    • the violence and civil war in Ireland, 1920–22.

    • the conflict between Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland, beginning in 1969.

Idioms about trouble

  1. in trouble, Informal. pregnant out of wedlock (used as a euphemism).

Origin of trouble

First recorded in 1175–1225; (for the verb) Middle English troublen, from Old French troubler, from Vulgar Latin turbulāre (unrecorded), derivative of turbulus (unrecorded) “turbid,” back formation from Latin turbulentus “restless, unruly”; noun derivative of the verb; see turbulent

synonym study For trouble

14. See care.

Other words for trouble

Opposites for trouble

Other words from trouble

  • trou·bled·ly, adverb
  • trou·bled·ness, noun
  • troubler, noun
  • trou·bling·ly, adverb
  • non·trou·bling, adjective
  • o·ver·trou·ble, verb, o·ver·trou·bled, o·ver·trou·bling.
  • self-troubled, adjective
  • self-troubling, adjective
  • un·trou·bled, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use trouble in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for trouble


/ (ˈtrʌbəl) /

  1. a state or condition of mental distress or anxiety

  2. a state or condition of disorder or unrest: industrial trouble

  1. a condition of disease, pain, or malfunctioning: she has liver trouble

  2. a cause of distress, disturbance, or pain; problem: what is the trouble?

  3. effort or exertion taken to do something: he took a lot of trouble over this design

  4. liability to suffer punishment or misfortune (esp in the phrase be in trouble): he's in trouble with the police

  5. a personal quality that is regarded as a weakness, handicap, or cause of annoyance: his trouble is that he's too soft

  6. (plural)

    • political unrest or public disturbances

    • the Troubles political violence in Ireland during the 1920s or in Northern Ireland between the late 1960s and the late 1990s

  7. the condition of an unmarried girl who becomes pregnant (esp in the phrase in trouble)

  1. (tr) to cause trouble to; upset, pain, or worry

  2. (intr usually with a negative and foll by about) to put oneself to inconvenience; be concerned: don't trouble about me

  1. (intr; usually with a negative) to take pains; exert oneself: please don't trouble to write everything down

  2. (tr) to cause inconvenience or discomfort to: does this noise trouble you?

  3. (tr; usually passive) to agitate or make rough: the seas were troubled

  4. (tr) Caribbean to interfere with: he wouldn't like anyone to trouble his new bicycle

Origin of trouble

C13: from Old French troubler, from Vulgar Latin turbulāre (unattested), from Late Latin turbidāre, from turbidus confused, from turba commotion

Derived forms of trouble

  • troubled, adjective
  • troubler, noun

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with trouble


In addition to the idioms beginning with trouble

  • trouble one's head with
  • trouble someone for

also see:

  • borrow trouble
  • fish in troubled waters
  • go to the trouble
  • in trouble with
  • pour oil on troubled waters

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.