Why was clemency trending last week?


[prob-luh-mat-ik] /ˌprɒb ləˈmæt ɪk/
of the nature of a problem; doubtful; uncertain; questionable.
Also, problematical.
Origin of problematic
1600-10; < Late Latin problēmaticus < Greek problēmatikós, equivalent to problēmat- (stem of próblēma) problem + -ikos -ic
Related forms
problematically, adverb
nonproblematic, adjective
nonproblematical, adjective
nonproblematically, adverb
quasi-problematic, adjective
unproblematic, adjective
unproblematical, adjective
unproblematically, adverb
unsure, indeterminate, unsettled, dubious, ambiguous.


[prob-luh-mat-iks] /ˌprɒb ləˈmæt ɪks/
plural noun
the uncertainties or difficulties inherent in a situation or plan.
1955-60; see problematic, -ics Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for problematic
  • Many of us see clearly what is problematic about such actions.
  • Distinguishing between science and pseudoscience is problematic.
  • Here is where the best-of-the-decade rule became a little problematic.
  • On the other hand, structural unemployment in the economy may not be quite as problematic as is widely feared.
  • Computer security has been particularly problematic for the lab.
  • The next step will be a treatment study to see if certain medications help to reduce the problematic impulses.
  • His failure to care for himself has been problematic for a long time now.
  • Rankings based on perceptions are particularly problematic.
  • The inability to ensure a ready supply is also problematic.
  • Police admit that enforcing such laws is problematic at best.
British Dictionary definitions for problematic


having the nature or appearance of a problem; questionable
(logic, obsolete) (of a proposition) asserting that a property may or may not hold Compare apodeictic (sense 2), assertoric
Derived Forms
problematically, adverb
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 problematic

c.1600, "doubtful, questionable," from French problematique (15c.), from Late Latin problematicus, from Greek problematikos "pertaining to a problem," from problematos, genitive of problema (see problem). Specific sense in logic, differentiating what is possible from what is necessarily true, is from 1610s. Related: Problematical (1560s); problematically.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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