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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Difficulty \Dif"fi*cul*ty\, n.; pl. Difficulties. [L. difficultas, fr. difficilis difficult; dif- = dis- + facilis easy: cf. F. difficult['e]. See Facile.]

  1. The state of being difficult, or hard to do; hardness; arduousness; -- opposed to easiness or facility; as, the difficulty of a task or enterprise; a work of difficulty.

    Not being able to promote them [the interests of life] on account of the difficulty of the region.
    --James Byrne.

  2. Something difficult; a thing hard to do or to understand; that which occasions labor or perplexity, and requires skill and perseverance to overcome, solve, or achieve; a hard enterprise; an obstacle; an impediment; as, the difficulties of a science; difficulties in theology.

    They lie under some difficulties by reason of the emperor's displeasure.

  3. A controversy; a falling out; a disagreement; an objection; a cavil.

    Measures for terminating all local difficulties.

  4. Embarrassment of affairs, especially financial affairs; -- usually in the plural; as, to be in difficulties.

    In days of difficulty and pressure.

    Syn: Impediment; obstacle; obstruction; embarrassment; perplexity; exigency; distress; trouble; trial; objection; cavil. See Impediment.


n. 1 (plural of difficulty English) 2 (context colloquial English) a series of frustrations

Usage examples of "difficulties".

I have already recapitulated, as fairly as I could, the opposed difficulties and objections: now let us turn to the special facts and arguments in favour of the theory.

In the four succeeding chapters, the most apparent and gravest difficulties on the theory will be given: namely, first, the difficulties of transitions, or understanding how a simple being or a simple organ can be changed and perfected into a highly developed being or elaborately constructed organ.

When, moreover, he comes to study allied forms brought from countries not now continuous, in which case he can hardly hope to find the intermediate links between his doubtful forms, he will have to trust almost entirely to analogy, and his difficulties will rise to a climax.

Watson, to whom I am much indebted for valuable advice and assistance on this subject, soon convinced me that there were many difficulties, as did subsequently Dr Hooker, even in stronger terms.

I shall reserve for my future work the discussion of these difficulties, and the tables themselves of the proportional numbers of the varying species.

We have in this chapter discussed some of the difficulties and objections which may be urged against my theory.

But insuperable difficulties, as it seems to me, prevent us coming to any just conclusion on this head.

On this view, the difficulties above discussed are greatly diminished, or even disappear.

This view would remove many difficulties, but it would not, I think, explain all the facts in regard to insular productions.

I have felt these difficulties far too heavily during many years to doubt their weight.

Grave as these several difficulties are, in my judgement they do not overthrow the theory of descent with modification.

Any one whose disposition leads him to attach more weight to unexplained difficulties than to the explanation of a certain number of facts will certainly reject my theory.

  The abilities of that amiable prince seem to have been inadequate to the difficulties of his situation, the firmness of his conduct inferior to the purity of his intentions.

  Some chronological difficulties have likewise been discovered by the nice eyes of Tillemont and Muratori, in this supposed association of Philip to the empire.

  The confusion of the times, and the scarcity of authentic memorials, oppose equal difficulties to the historian, who attempts to preserve a clear and unbroken thread of narration.