[dif-i-kuhlt, -kuhlt]
not easily or readily done; requiring much labor, skill, or planning to be performed successfully; hard: a difficult job.
hard to understand or solve: a difficult problem.
hard to deal with or get on with: a difficult pupil.
hard to please or satisfy: a difficult employer.
hard to persuade or induce; stubborn: a difficult old man.
disadvantageous; trying; hampering: The operation was performed under the most difficult conditions.
fraught with hardship, especially financial hardship: We saw some difficult times during the depression years.

1350–1400; Middle English, back formation from difficulty

difficultly, adverb
nondifficult, adjective
quasi-difficult, adjective
quasi-difficultly, adverb
superdifficult, adjective
superdifficultly, adverb
undifficult, adjective
undifficultly, adverb

1. arduous. See hard. 2. intricate, perplexing, involved, knotty. 4. particular, finical, fussy. 5. obdurate, uncompromising.

1. easy. 2. simple.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
difficult (ˈdɪfɪkəlt)
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
[C14: back formation from difficulty]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

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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Example sentences
Finding a balance is one of the difficult issues in academia.
It was very difficult if you didn't know your way around or didn't have access.
Control is difficult, because the fungus can survive in the soil for years
  without a host.
It has been a difficult balancing act, perhaps never more so than this year.
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