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difficult

[dif-i-kuhlt, -kuh lt] /ˈdɪf ɪˌkʌlt, -kəlt/
adjective
1.
not easily or readily done; requiring much labor, skill, or planning to be performed successfully; hard:
a difficult job.
2.
hard to understand or solve:
a difficult problem.
3.
hard to deal with or get on with:
a difficult pupil.
4.
hard to please or satisfy:
a difficult employer.
5.
hard to persuade or induce; stubborn:
a difficult old man.
6.
disadvantageous; trying; hampering:
The operation was performed under the most difficult conditions.
7.
fraught with hardship, especially financial hardship:
We saw some difficult times during the depression years.
Origin of difficult
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English, back formation from difficulty
Related forms
difficultly, adverb
nondifficult, adjective
quasi-difficult, adjective
quasi-difficultly, adverb
superdifficult, adjective
superdifficultly, adverb
undifficult, adjective
undifficultly, adverb
Synonyms
1. arduous. See hard. 2. intricate, perplexing, involved, knotty. 4. particular, finical, fussy. 5. obdurate, uncompromising.
Antonyms
1. easy. 2. simple.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for difficult
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And it is difficult to suppose that Moses had not received a complete education.

  • Sophia found the first half-hour not at all difficult to surmount.

    Deerbrook Harriet Martineau
  • It is difficult to account for the object of this strange proceeding.

    The Western World W.H.G. Kingston
  • It was difficult to conceive how they could be further injured.

    Deerbrook Harriet Martineau
  • But, really, the noise of that screw makes it difficult to hear distinctly.

    Under the Waves R M Ballantyne
British Dictionary definitions for difficult

difficult

/ˈdɪfɪkəlt/
adjective
1.
not easy to do; requiring effort: a difficult job
2.
not easy to understand or solve; intricate: a difficult problem
3.
hard to deal with; troublesome: a difficult child
4.
not easily convinced, pleased, or satisfied: a difficult audience
5.
full of hardships or trials: difficult times ahead
Derived Forms
difficultly, adverb
Word Origin
C14: back formation from difficulty
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
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Word Origin and History for difficult
adj.

c.1400, apparently a back-formation from difficulty. French has difficile, Latin difficilis. Of persons, "hard to please," from 1580s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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