Why was clemency trending last week?


[prob-luh m] /ˈprɒb ləm/
any question or matter involving doubt, uncertainty, or difficulty.
a question proposed for solution or discussion.
Mathematics. a statement requiring a solution, usually by means of a mathematical operation or geometric construction.
difficult to train or guide; unruly:
a problem child.
Literature. dealing with choices of action difficult either for an individual or for society at large:
a problem play.
no problem, (used as a conventional reply to a request or to express confirmation, affirmation, or gratitude).
Origin of problem
1350-1400; Middle English probleme < Latin problēma < Greek próblēma orig., obstacle, (akin to probállein to throw or lay before), equivalent to pro- pro-2 + -blē-, variant stem of bállein to throw (cf. parabola) + -ma noun suffix of result
Related forms
subproblem, noun
1, 2. puzzle, riddle, enigma.
1. certitude. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for problem
  • But perhaps the biggest problem is that schools do not value good teachers over bad ones.
  • Daydreaming can help solve problems, trigger creativity, and inspire great works of art and science.
  • The problem could have been avoided, and it still could be reduced.
  • Nevertheless, there is still a problem.
  • Introduced predators are causing problems for some small mammal species.
  • So there is a problem with the vertical integration.
  • Now we are faced with a new problem.
  • China's problem has become the world's problem.
  • The second, more immediate problem is deflation.
  • Plants have a problem—they are stuck in the ground.
British Dictionary definitions for problem


  1. any thing, matter, person, etc, that is difficult to deal with, solve, or overcome
  2. (as modifier): a problem child
a puzzle, question, etc, set for solution
(maths) a statement requiring a solution usually by means of one or more operations or geometric constructions
(modifier) designating a literary work that deals with difficult moral questions: a problem play
Word Origin
C14: from Late Latin problēma, from Greek: something put forward; related to proballein to throw forwards, from pro-² + ballein to throw
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for problem

late 14c., "a difficult question proposed for solution," from Old French problème (14c.) and directly from Latin problema, from Greek problema "a task, that which is proposed, a question;" also "anything projecting, headland, promontory; fence, barrier;" also "a problem in geometry," literally "thing put forward," from proballein "propose," from pro "forward" (see pro-) + ballein "to throw" (see ballistics).

Meaning "a difficulty" is mid-15c. Mathematical sense is from 1560s in English. Problem child first recorded 1920. Phrase _______ problem in reference to a persistent and seemingly insoluble difficulty is attested at least from 1882, in Jewish problem. Response no problem "that is acceptable; that can be done without difficulty" is recorded from 1968.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for problem


Related Terms

have a problem with something

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with problem


see: no problem
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for problem

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for problem

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for problem