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.


  1. not easy to do; requiring efforta difficult job
  2. not easy to understand or solve; intricatea difficult problem
  3. hard to deal with; troublesomea difficult child
  4. not easily convinced, pleased, or satisfieda difficult audience
  5. full of hardships or trialsdifficult times ahead

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

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