Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1300-1400
Language: Latin
Origin: difficultas, from difficilis 'difficult', from facilis 'easy'

difficulty

noun
     
dif‧fi‧cul‧ty S1 W1 plural difficulties
1 [uncountable] if you have difficulty doing something, it is difficult for you to do
with/without difficulty
He got to his feet with difficulty.
! Do not say that someone 'has difficulty to do something'. Say that someone has difficulty doing something or has difficulty in doing something.
2 [countable usually plural] a problem or something that causes troubleCOLLOCATIONS COLLOCATIONS
have/experience/encounter difficulties run/get into difficulties (=experience difficulties) difficulties arise overcome difficulties cause difficulties (for somebody) be fraught with/beset by difficulties (=involve a lot of difficulties) practical difficulties mechanical/technical difficulties financial difficulties (=a bad financial situation) breathing difficulties behavioural difficulties (=bad behaviour) marital difficulties (=problems between a husband and wife)
difficulty with
There are several difficulties with this theory.
If you have any difficulties, give me a call.
The project soon ran into difficulties.
Difficulties can arise when there is more than one defendant.
We're confident that the legal difficulties can be overcome.
The rearrangement of school classes may cause timetabling difficulties.
Their ten years of marriage have been fraught with difficulties.
the practical difficulties of prosecuting alleged war criminals
The broadcast was delayed because of technical difficulties .
She developed breathing difficulties during the night.
3 [uncountable] if you are in difficulty, you are in a situation in which you have problems
in difficulty
The business is in financial difficulty.
get/run into difficulty (=get into a difficult situation)
She soon got into difficulty with debt.
4 [uncountable] the quality of being difficult to do
the difficulty of (doing) something
the difficulty of solving such problems
5 [uncountable] how difficult something is:
The tests vary in difficulty.

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