difficulty


difficulty
I
(New American Roget's College Thesaurus)
That which is hard to overcome
Nouns
1. difficulty, hardness, impracticability, hard work, uphill work, hurdle; hard task, Herculean task, large order, hard row to hoe; task of Sisyphus, Sisyphean labor; tough job; hard way.
2. (difficult decision) dilemma, horns of a dilemma, predicament; embarrassment, contretemps; perplexity, entanglement; growing pains; awkwardness, Gordian knot, maze; coil (see convolution); nice or delicate point; vexed question, poser, enigma, puzzle, riddle, paradox, catch-22, knotty point, snag; hard nut to crack; bone to pick. See inquiry, secret.
3. (difficult situation) quandary, strait, pinch, [pretty] pass, plight, critical situation, crisis; trial, rub, crux, emergency, exigency; quagmire, hot water, hornet's nest; sea of troubles, deep water; pretty kettle of fish, fat is in the fire, the devil to pay, can of worms, where the shoe pinches; imbroglio, mess, impasse, deadlock, moment of truth, point of no return; gridlock; final straw; scrape, cul-de-sac, hitch, catch; stumbling block, hindrance. Informal, pickle, stew, fix, hole, crunch, little red wagon. Slang, jam, bad hair day, hambone, hump, wanker. See adversity.
Verbs
1. be difficult, go against the grain, try one's patience, put one out; put to one's wits' end; go hard with, be on one's back; try one; pose, perplex, distress, bother, take aback, nonplus, bring to a deadlock; be impossible.
4. meet with difficulties, labor under difficulties or a disadvantage; be in difficulty, run afoul of; fish in troubled waters, buffet the waves, swim against the stream or tide; have much ado with, have a hard time of it, eke out; bear the brunt, carry or bear one's cross; grope in the dark, lose one's way; be in a corner. Slang, milk a duck.
5. get into difficulties, get into a scrape, burn one's fingers, take it on the chin; stir up a hornet's nest, bring a hornet's nest about one's ears, put one's foot in it, paint oneself into a corner; ask for or borrow trouble; flounder, boggle, struggle; not know which way to turn (see doubt); stick at, stick in the mud, stick fast; come to a standstill. Slang, get all balled up, have one's ass in a crack or sling.
6. (make difficult for) encumber, embarrass, ravel, entangle, complicate, involve; put a spoke in the wheel, put through the mill, hinder (see hindrance); play the devil or hob with; stump; tree.
Adjectives
1. difficult, not easy, hard, tough, troublesome, toilsome, irk-some; laborious (See exertion); onerous, arduous, demanding, Herculean, formidable; sooner or easier said than done; difficult or hard to deal with; ill-conditioned. Slang, hairy.
2. awkward, unmanageable; intractable, stubborn, obstinate (see obstinacy).
3. knotted, knotty; pathless, trackless, labyrinthine, convoluted (see convolution); intricate, complicated, tangled, afoul; impracticable, desperate, hopeless (see hopelessness); embarrassing, perplexing, uncertain (see doubt).
4. at the end of one's rope or tether, at one's wits' end, at a standstill; at sea, nonplused; stranded, aground, stuck fast; up a tree, out on a limb, at bay, driven into a corner, driven from pillar to post, driven to extremity, driven to the wall, on the ropes or rocks; in a bind, hole, box, or spot, up against it or the wall; out of one's depth, in deep, thrown out. Slang, behind the eight ball, in the soup, up the creek [without a paddle], jacked up.
Adverbs — with difficulty, with much ado; hardly, uphill; against the stream or grain; coming and going; in the teeth of, in a pinch; at long odds; when push comes to shove, when the chips are down.
Phrases — the difficult is done at once, the impossible takes a little longer; per ardua ad astra.
Quotations — We're eyeball to eyeball, and I think the other fellow just blinked (Dean Rusk), What we're saying today is that you're either part of the solution or you're part of the problem (Eldridge Cleaver), Problems are only opportunities in work clothes (Henry J. Kaiser), When written in Chinese the word crisis is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity (J. F. Kennedy), Whatever women do, they must do it twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult (Charlotte Whitton).
Antonyms, see facility.
II
(Roget's IV) n.
1. [Something difficult or in one's way]
Syn. obstacle, obstruction, impediment, stumbling block, complication, problem, snag, hitch, hardship, rigor, adversity, misfortune, vicissitude, dilemma, hard job, struggle, Herculean task, labyrinth, maze, stone wall, barricade, predicament, plight, impasse, knot, knotty problem, thorny problem, challenge, quandary, frustration, quagmire, pass, quicksand, critical situation, crisis, pinch, trouble, embarrassment, entanglement, imbroglio, setback, cul-de-sac, dead end, blind alley, deadlock, mess, slough, paradox, puzzle, muddle, swamp, straits, financial embarrassment, squeeze, poser, crux, emergency, the matter, standstill, hindrance, bother, inconvenience, disadvantage, rub, perplexity, bar, trial, check, hazard, corner, hole, double bind, touchy situation, embarrassing situation, scrape, peck of troubles*, hot water*, hornet's nest*, can of worms*, pickle*, fix*, jam*, bind*, tight spot*, hard nut to crack*, tough nut to crack*, hard row to hoe*, hump*, crimp*, catch*, joker*, monkey wrench in the works*, deep water*, tough proposition*, horns of a dilemma*, Gordian knot*, the devil to pay*, hang-up*, toughie*; see also barrier , crisis , impediment 1 , predicament , trouble 2 .
Ant. aid*, assistance, help.
2. [Something mentally disturbing]
Syn. trouble, distress, annoyance, to-do, ado, worry, weight, complication, oppression, depression, aggravation, perplexity, bafflement, anxiety, discouragement, embarrassment, burden, grievance, quandary, straits, exigency, irritation, strife, puzzle, responsibility, frustration, harassment, misery, pressure, stress, strain, care, charge, millstone, struggle, bother, headache*, hang-up*, stew*, where the shoe pinches*, pain*; see also sense 1; affliction .
Ant. ease, comfort, happiness.
3. [The fact of being difficult]
Syn. arduousness, hardness, intricacy, complexity, laboriousness, strenuousness, rigor, rigorousness, formidability, onerousness, burdensomeness, painfulness, toughness*, hassle*.
4. [Objection]
Syn. reluctance, unwillingness, demur, flak*; see objection 1 , 2 .
with difficulty,
Syn. in the face of Great odds, having a hard time, having a bad time, under a handicap, in spite of one's best efforts; with embarrassment.
Syn.- difficulty is applied to anything hard to contend with, without restriction as to nature, intensity, etc. [ the difficulty of learning to read, a life filled with Great ifficulties] ; hardship , stronger in connotation, suggests suffering, privation, or trouble that is extremely hard to bear [ the hardships of poverty ] ; rigor suggests severe hardship but further connotes that it is imposed by external, impersonal circumstances beyond one's control [ the rigors of winter ] ; vicissitude , a bookish word, suggests a difficulty that is likely to occur in the changeable course of something, often one inherent in a situation [ the vicissitudes of political life ]
III
(Roget's 3 Superthesaurus) n.
problem, complication, pain, struggle, trouble, bother, trial, *hard row to hoe, dilemma, hardship, obstacle, *fix, snag, impasse, quagmire, hassle, *tough sledding, plight, mess, *hot water, *deep water, straits, *hornet's nest, *Gordian knot, *can of worms, deadlock, gridlock, *pickle. ''God's errands and trainers, and only through them can one come to the fullness of manhood.''—Henry Ward Beecher. ''A harsh nurse who roughly rocks her foster-children into strength and athletic proportion.''—William Jennings Bryan.
IV
(Roget's Thesaurus II) noun 1. Something that obstructs progress and requires great effort to overcome: asperity, hardship, rigor, vicissitude (often used in plural). Idioms: a hard (or tough) nut to crack, a hard (or tough) row to hoe, heavy sledding. See EASY. 2. A difficult, often embarrassing situation or condition: box1, corner, deep water, dilemma, Dutch, fix, hole, hot spot, hot water, jam, plight1, predicament, quagmire, scrape, soup, trouble. Informal: bind, pickle, spot. See EASY. 3. A state of disagreement and disharmony: clash, conflict, confrontation, contention, difference, disaccord, discord, discordance, dissension, dissent, dissentience, dissidence, dissonance, faction, friction, inharmony, schism, strife, variance, war, warfare. See CONFLICT. 4. A discussion, often heated, in which a difference of opinion is expressed: altercation, argument, bicker, clash, contention, controversy, debate, disagreement, dispute, fight, polemic, quarrel, run-in, spat, squabble, tiff, word (used in plural), wrangle. Informal: hassle, rhubarb, tangle. See CONFLICT.

English dictionary for students. 2013.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • difficulty — difficulty, hardship, rigor, vicissitude are synonyms only when they mean something which demands effort and endurance if it is to be overcome or one s end achieved. Difficulty, the most widely applicable of these terms, applies to any condition …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Difficulty — Dif fi*cul*ty, n.; pl. {Difficulties}. [L. difficultas, fr. difficilis difficult; dif = dis + facilis easy: cf. F. difficult[ e]. See {Facile}.] 1. The state of being difficult, or hard to do; hardness; arduousness; opposed to {easiness} or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • difficulty — [dif′i kul΄tē, dif′ikəl΄tē] n. pl. difficulties [ME & OFr difficulte < L difficultas < difficilis, difficult < dis , not + facilis, easy: see FACILE] 1. the condition or fact of being difficult 2. something that is difficult, as a hard… …   English World dictionary

  • difficulty — [n1] problem; situation requiring great effort adversity, arduousness, awkwardness, barricade, check, complication, crisis, crux, dead end, deadlock, deep water*, dilemma, distress, emergency, exigency, fix*, frustration, hardship, hazard,… …   New thesaurus

  • difficulty — late 14c., from O.Fr. difficulté, from L. difficultatem (nom. difficultas) difficulty, distress, poverty, from difficilis hard, from dis not, away from (see DIS (Cf. dis )) + facilis easy (see FACILE (Cf. facile)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • difficulty — index adversity, aggravation (annoyance), bar (obstruction), burden, complex (entanglement) …   Law dictionary

  • difficulty — ► NOUN (pl. difficulties) 1) the state or condition of being difficult. 2) a difficult or dangerous situation or circumstance. ORIGIN Latin difficultas, from facultas ability, opportunity …   English terms dictionary

  • difficulty — noun ADJECTIVE ▪ considerable, enormous, extreme, grave, great, major, real, serious, severe ▪ We had enormous difficulty …   Collocations dictionary

  • difficulty */*/*/ — UK [ˈdɪfɪk(ə)ltɪ] / US [ˈdɪfɪkəltɪ] noun Word forms difficulty : singular difficulty plural difficulties Metaphor: A difficult idea or situation is like a knot or something that is tied up, tangled, or twisted. When you deal with it successfully …   English dictionary

  • difficulty — dif|fi|cul|ty [ dıfıkəlti ] noun *** 1. ) uncount how difficult something is: The courses vary in content and difficulty. 2. ) uncount if you have difficulty with something, you are not able to do it easily: difficulty (in) doing something: Six… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • difficulty — n. 1) to cause, create, make, present difficulties for 2) to come across, encounter, experience, face, meet, run into difficulties 3) to clear up, overcome, resolve, surmount a difficulty 4) (a) grave, great, insurmountable, serious, severe… …   Combinatory dictionary


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