Meaning of difficult in English:


Pronunciation /ˈdɪfɪklt/

See synonyms for difficult

Translate difficult into Spanish


  • 1Needing much effort or skill to accomplish, deal with, or understand.

    ‘she had a difficult decision to make’
    • ‘the questions are too difficult for the children’
    • ‘We all acknowledged the fact that this decision is very difficult for you to understand.’
    • ‘It is as difficult for us to understand adolescents as it is for them to understand us.’
    • ‘It is very difficult for me to disagree with the statement that they deplore it.’
    • ‘Why is it so difficult for the present crew to understand where the horse goes in relation to the cart?’
    • ‘These structures made it difficult for investors and advisers to pick the best deal.’
    • ‘The game is so quick that it is very difficult for them to see everything and to get every decision right.’
    • ‘It is as difficult for the very civilized man to understand its charm as it is to deny its existence.’
    • ‘Without such a basis, it will be difficult for either party to gain much from a consultation.’
    • ‘The behaviour of children with autism can be difficult for other people to understand.’
    • ‘It can also be difficult for them to speak to friends about the emotions they are experiencing.’
    • ‘Another makes it very difficult for a woman to keep her children if she remarries after a divorce.’
    • ‘He is better than he was, but it was difficult for him to even make it here, and he only lives a couple of miles away.’
    • ‘He added he feared it might prove difficult for the staff losing their jobs to find new work in this area.’
    • ‘But with the boundaries as they are it is going to be very difficult for anyone to win.’
    • ‘It was difficult for his cowered staff to stand up to this overbearing behaviour.’
    • ‘It was not difficult for me to step up, but I had to show a lot more concentration.’
    • ‘There was a spell when it was difficult for me to choose between certain players.’
    • ‘As a woman on the stairs said, it must make it doubly difficult for the conductor.’
    • ‘That might be difficult for those schools which only allocate an hour for the subject.’
    • ‘It said passive smoking not only killed but also made it more difficult for smokers to quit.’
    hard, strenuous, arduous, laborious, heavy, tough, onerous, burdensome, demanding, punishing, gruelling, grinding, back-breaking, painful
    problematic, hard, puzzling, baffling, perplexing, confusing, mystifying, mysterious
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Characterized by or causing hardships or problems.
      ‘a difficult economic climate’
      • ‘The State of Oregon is looking hard to save where it can in this difficult business climate.’
      • ‘I was also a union steward at that time involved in long and difficult negotiations.’
      • ‘The whole situation is made more difficult by the complexity of the cost equations.’
      • ‘I know this has been a very difficult and stressful time for the family and for staff involved.’
      • ‘The bereaved should not have to be faced with such problems at what is already a very difficult time.’
      • ‘It is tempting to pretend that the last few days have been dark and difficult for Britain.’
      • ‘Doesn't the fact that his father died in an automobile accident make it difficult for him?’
      • ‘Disabled shoppers claim a new supermarket car park is making life difficult for them.’
      • ‘The snow and ice which had made life difficult for the past eight weeks was finally on the retreat.’
      • ‘The past two years have been a particularly difficult time for the people working there.’
      • ‘Your uncompromising honesty and painfully truthful criticisms can make life difficult at times.’
      • ‘It makes life so difficult for disabled people, it's just not right.’
      • ‘But my being away does make things difficult for the family because I work for my father.’
      • ‘Doctors are a dedicated lot, mostly doing a superb job under difficult circumstances.’
      • ‘The family are finding it a bit difficult at the moment as you can imagine.’
      • ‘Apparently, her puss Fang soon tires of any particular flavor and makes life difficult at meal times.’
      inconvenient, awkward, unfavourable, unfortunate, inappropriate, unsuitable, untimely, ill-timed, inopportune, inexpedient, disadvantageous
      bad, tough, grim, terrible, awful, dreadful, nightmarish, dark, black, hard, adverse, unpleasant, unwelcome, disagreeable, distressing, harrowing
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2(of a person) not easy to please or satisfy; awkward.
      ‘Lily could be difficult’
      • ‘It's quite a hard thing to say, but my Nan is a very difficult person for me to be around.’
      • ‘My character in the film had a very difficult father and there was one scene in which she had to stand up to him.’
      • ‘He has succeeded in showing us that he is a difficult man, but that needed no great mastery.’
      • ‘He was apparently a difficult man to deal with but always Burnley through and through.’
      • ‘I'm not saying my brother is a difficult person but he does have trouble committing to family events.’
      • ‘He is a difficult person but he has never tried to influence me.’
      • ‘We all know she is a difficult woman, but not that difficult.’
      troublesome, tiresome, trying, exasperating, demanding, unmanageable, intractable, perverse, contrary, recalcitrant, obstreperous, refractory, fractious
      View synonyms


Late Middle English back-formation from difficulty.