Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1300-1400
Language: French
Origin: problème, from Latin problema, from Greek, 'something thrown forward', from proballein 'to throw forward'

problem

noun
     
Related topics: Education
prob‧lem S1 W1 [countable]
1

difficulty

a situation that causes difficultiesCOLLOCATIONS COLLOCATIONS
have a problem big/serious/major problem cause a problem deal with/sort out a problem solve/fix/overcome a problem address/tackle a problem pose/present a probem a problem arises/occurs/comes up (=it happens) economic/financial problems personal problem (=a problem in someone's private life) money/family problems drink/drug problem (=when someone drinks too much alcohol or takes too many drugs) thorny/knotty problem (=a difficult problem)
problem of
the problem of race relations
problem with
I've been having a few problems with my car.
She was older than me, but that wasn't a problem.
new ways of dealing with the problem of street crime
Does this mean that all our problems are solved?
They still have some serious problems to overcome.
new measures aimed at tackling the drug problem
The shortage of teachers poses a major problem.
The country has huge economic problems.
He had to take some time off work due to personal problems.
The marriage ended because of her husband's drink problem.
We still haven't sorted out the thorny problem of where exactly the money is going to come from.
see usage note trouble1
2 something wrong with your health or with part of your body
health problem/problem with your health
Does she have any long-term health problems?
back/heart/kidney etc problem
If you have back problems you should avoid lifting heavy objects.
hearing problem
Many people with hearing problems try to hide their condition.
weight problem
She refuses to admit to herself that she has a weight problem.
emotional/psychological problem
Is this a sign of some kind of deeper psychological problem?
3

question

SE a question for which you have to find the right answer, using mathematics or careful thought:
She gave us 20 mathematical problems to solve.
4

no problem

spoken
a) used to say that you are happy to do something or for someone else to do something:
'Can I bring a friend?' 'Sure, no problem.'
b) used after someone has said thank you or said that they are sorry:
'Thanks for all your help.' 'No problem!'
5

the (only) problem is (that) ...

spoken used before saying what the main difficulty in a situation is:
The problem is, there isn't enough time.
6

that's your/his etc problem

spoken used to say rudely that someone else is responsible for dealing with a situation, not you:
If you miss the train, that's your problem.
7

it's/that's not my problem

spoken used to say rudely that you are not responsible for dealing with a particular problem and are not willing to help:
'We've got a serious staffing shortage.' 'That's not my problem.'
8

What's your/his etc problem?

spoken informal used when you think that someone is behaving in a way that is unreasonable
9

Do you have a problem with that?

spoken informal used to ask someone why they seem to disagree with you, in a way that shows that you are annoyed
10

problem child/family/drinker etc

MP a child etc whose behaviour causes problems for other people
GRAMMAR GRAMMAR

You can say that you have a problem or have problems We have a slight problem. Are you having problems with your parents?!! You can have problems doing something. Do not use 'to do' I'm having a problem finishing (NOT a problem to finish) this. He had problems finding (NOT problems to find) a job.!! Do not say 'the problem why'. To explain why there is a problem, use the reason why The reason why people don't shop there is that it costs too much.!! Do not say 'problems happen'. Use the verbs arise or occur Problems start to arise (NOT start to happen) when people don't keep up their payments.
WORD CHOICE: WORD CHOICE:

trouble, problem, troubles
!! Trouble is usually an uncountable noun. Never say 'a trouble' He has caused me a lot of trouble (NOT troubles). Are you having trouble (NOT a trouble) with your car?A problem is a specific thing that causes worry or difficulty My biggest problem is shyness. There were a lot of problems with his work. They're having problems in their marriage.Your troubles are your worries Sit down here and forget your troubles (OR problems) for a minute.See also trouble

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