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The following statistics are based on the British National Corpus, so they are representative for the British English.

Distribution of usage frequency for the most common synonyms of the noun difficulty:

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Definition of the noun difficulty

What does difficulty mean as a name of something?

Difficulty is one of the top 1000 most common nouns in the English language.

noun - plural: difficulties

  1. an effort that is inconvenient
    • examples: had difficulty walking | finished the test only with great difficulty
    • lexical domain: Acts - nouns denoting acts or actions
    • synonym of difficulty: trouble
    • more generic terms: effort / elbow grease / exertion / sweat / travail = use of physical or mental energy
    • more specific terms:
      • the devil = something difficult or awkward to do or deal with
      • tsuris = aggravating trouble
  2. a factor causing trouble in achieving a positive result or tending to produce a negative result
  3. a condition or state of affairs almost beyond one's ability to deal with and requiring great effort to bear or overcome
    • lexical domain: States - nouns denoting stable states of affairs
    • more generic words: condition / status = a state at a particular time
    • more specific terms:
      • bitch = an unpleasant difficulty
      • predicament / quandary / plight = a situation from which extrication is difficult especially an unpleasant or trying one
      • rattrap = a difficult entangling situation
      • pinch = a painful or straitened circumstance
      • kettle of fish / muddle / pickle / hole / mess / fix / jam = informal terms for a difficult situation
      • rough sledding / hard time = a difficulty that can be overcome with effort
      • strain / stress = difficulty that causes worry or emotional tension
      • mire = a difficulty or embarrassment that is hard to extricate yourself from
      • problem / job = a state of difficulty that needs to be resolved
      • situation = a complex or critical or unusual difficulty
      • urinary hesitancy = difficulty in beginning the flow of urine; associated with prostate enlargement in men and with narrowing of the urethral opening in women
      • wall = a difficult or awkward situation
  4. the quality of being difficult

Alternative definition of the noun difficulty


  1. The state of being difficult, or hard to do.
  2. An obstacle that hinders achievement of a goal.

Specialised definition of the noun difficulty

Glossary of sports

classification or assessment category for the technical difficulty of exercises in sport disciplines where performance cannot be measured directly, but must be judged and assessed according to a point system, e.g. in gymnastics, sport acrobatics (part), figure skating, roller (inline) skating (mark), diving. (Herbert Haag & Gerald Haag. 2003. Dictionary. Sport, Physical Education, Sport Science. Kiel, Institut für Sport und Sportwissenschaften)

Glossary of sports / alpinism

the classification of the technical difficulty of a climbing route (Herbert Haag & Gerald Haag. 2003. Dictionary. Sport, Physical Education, Sport Science. Kiel, Institut für Sport und Sportwissenschaften)


"Difficulty" is a composition.


"Difficulty" is a book by William Logan.

  • also known as "Difficulty: poems"

Phrases with Difficulty

  1. Difficulty Level
  2. with difficulty

Printed books with definitions for Difficulty

Click on a title to look inside that book (if available):

Google previewKnowledge-based Neurocomputing (2000)

by Ian Cloete, Jacek M. Zurada

The first difficulty is the necessity of prior specification of a network structure. Needless to say...

The third difficulty is a scaling problem: computational cost grows rapidly as the network size increases. The fourth difficulty is a local minima ...

Google previewIndeterminate Identity (2000)

Metaphysics and Semantics by Terence Parsons

The first difficulty is that Evans cites Leibniz's Law while using a contrapositive version of it.

The second difficulty is the unjustified assumption (emphasized in Chapter 4) that the abstracts introduced in the proof stand for properties that obey ...

Google previewWhat if Derrida was wrong about Saussure? (2011)

by Russell Daylight

The first difficulty is that the engagement isfragmented. In the early, linguistically oriented, texts of Derrida, the name Saussure appears fitfully: three lines in 'Freud and the Scene of Writing'; a footnote in Speech and Phenomena; five pages in ...

Google previewData Mining: Practical Machine Learning Tools and Techniques (2011)

by Ian H. Witten, Eibe Frank, Mark A. Hall

A second difficulty is the plethora of attributes. The computer desktop environment has...

A third difficulty is that the iterative, improvement-driven development style that characterizes data mining applications fails. It is impossible in principle to ...

Google previewGeometric Aspects of Analysis and Mechanics (2011)

In Honor of the 65th Birthday of Hans Duistermaat by Erik P. van den Ban, Johan A.C. Kolk

The first difficulty is that as we saw before ∫ S1 | ̇x|2ds = +∞μ t a.e.. (2.20) The second difficulty is that there is no Lebesgue measure Dx on L0X. The third related difficulty is the denominator t∞/2, where ∞ should be understood as dim LX.

Google previewControl in Robotics and Automation (1999)

Sensor-based Integration by Bhaskar Kumar Ghosh, Ning Xi, Tzyh-Jong Tarn

The first technical difficulty is the development of a mathematical model to describe the plan so that it is inherently flexible relative to the final task goal and can be easily adjusted in real time according to task measurements. The second ...

Google previewCriminal Law (2001)

by David C. Brody, James R. Acker, Wayne A. Logan

The difficulty is that society is interested also in the due fulfillment of contracts and the avoidance of traffic accidents and most of the other stuff of civil litigation. The civil law is framed and interpreted and enforced with a constant eye to these ...

Google previewInvesting (2013)

The Last Liberal Art by Robert G Hagstrom

Adding to the difficulty is the fear that the uncertainty of long-range forecasts makes using the model suspect. A further difficulty is that determining value is highly sensitive to its ...

Google previewBagehot: The English Constitution (2001)

by Bagehot, Paul Smith

The difficulty is that the object is in constant change.

The difficulty is the greater because a writer who deals with a living government naturally compares it with the most important other living governments, and these are changing too; what ...

Google previewThe English Constitution (1930)

And Other Political Essays by Walter Bagehot

The difficulty is that the object is in constant change.

The difficulty is the greater because a writer who deals with a living government [ viii ]naturally compares it with the most important other living governments, and these are changing too; ...

Google previewSolid-State Microwave High-Power Amplifiers (2014)

by Franco Sechi, Marina Bujatti

The first difficulty is that the amplifier emits noise, even when the RF pulse is off. This seriously complicates the system design and degrades the performance. The second difficulty is the increase, often by a large amount, of the dc-power ...

Google previewCataclysmic Variable Stars - How and Why They Vary (2001)

by Coel Hellier

The main difficulty is that the eclipse yields one-dimensional information — disc regions all along the secondary limb, with a range of temperature and radii, combine to give only one bit of information, the change in observed light — whereas ...

Google previewResearch Needs for Human Factors (1983)

by Committee on Human Factors

One method is to ask the operator to express it in natural language, but the obvious difficulty is that each operator's expression is...

Google previewThe Cambridge Companion to Deleuze (2012)

by Daniel W. Smith, Henry Somers-Hall

A first difficulty is that Deleuze never identified the political as a ...

Google previewThe Ideas of Biology (2012)

by John Tyler Bonner

As far as man is concerned the difficulty is that nurture has become so tremendously important that nature is increasingly difficult to clearly identify and tag. But we know that some patterns of behavior of human beings must be wholly or at least ...

Google previewIdentified versus Statistical Lives (2015)

An Interdisciplinary Perspective by I. Glenn Cohen, Norman Daniels, Nir Eyal

The first difficulty is that these other distinctions, such as the worse off versus the better off, fail always to map onto the identified versus statistical distinction. So these arguments could at most show that the identified/statistical distinction is ...

Google previewAgent-Based Computational Demography (2012)

Using Simulation to Improve Our Understanding of Demographic Behaviour by Francesco C. Billari, Alexia Prskawetz

The first difficulty is the potentially thin character of information and activities relevant to contraception within the wider framework of social action. The second difficulty is ensuring the correct relationship between ABM and existing theories, ...

Google previewBasics of Video Lighting (2013)

by Des Lyver, Graham Swainson

A common difficulty is the creation of unwanted shadows on backgrounds. Very often these can be alleviated by...

Google previewFuture is Tomorrow (1987)

17 Prospective Studies - 2 volumes by Martinus Nijhoff

The second difficulty is that the adaptation of education to various types of children presupposes an extremely fine psychological understanding of the children, but most teachers are selected because of the knowledge which they possess, ...

Google previewPhilosophical Mysteries

by Stephen David Ross

The immediate difficulty is that complete knowledge of all events entails that the future is actual relative to a divine standpoint. God's omniscience is effectively antithetic to possibilities, rendering everything actual from a cosmic point of view.

Google previewModels of Mental Disorders (2012)

A New Comparative Psychiatry by William T. McKinney Jr.

The third difficulty is the heterogeneity in the behavior of human psychotic patients; that is, there are the schizophrenias rather than a single syndrome, and we are likely to need several animal models rather than any single comprehensive one ...

Online dictionaries and encyclopedias with entries for Difficulty

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Photos about Difficulty

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Small photo of Sign posting differnt degrees of difficulty in parcoursSmall photo of NOTICE TENANT TO VACATE RENTAL PROPERTY (FINANCIAL DIFFICULTY CONCEPT)Small photo of Businessman moves a pile of coins to a moneybox. concept of difficulty to saving money More...

Video language resources about Difficulty

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See also the pronunciation examples of Difficulty!

Sign language

Difficulty -- Interpreting Sign Language

Difficulty -- Interpreting Sign Language.

Quotes about Difficulty

Deep down, no one really believes they have a right to live. But this death sentence generally stays tucked away, hidden beneath the difficulty of living. If that difficulty is removed from time to time, death is suddenly there, unintelligibly. (Jean Baudrillard)
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Scrabble value of D2I1F4F4I1C3U1L1T1Y4

The value of this 10-letter word is 22 points. It is included in the first and second editions of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary.

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