American English

Definition of difficult adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    , NAmE//ˈdɪfɪkəlt//
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  1. 1difficult (for somebody) (to do something) not easy; needing effort or skill to do or to understand a difficult problem/task/exam It's difficult for them to get here much before seven. It's really difficult to read your writing. Your writing is really difficult to read. She finds it very difficult to get up early.
  2. 2full of problems; causing a lot of trouble to be in a difficult position/situation My boss is making life very difficult for me. Thirteen is a difficult age.
  3. 3(of people) not easy to please; not helpful synonym awkward a difficult child/customer/boss Don't pay any attention to her—she's just being difficult.
  4. Thesaurusdifficulthard challenging demanding taxingThese words all describe something that is not easy and requires a lot of effort or skill to do.difficult not easy; needing effort or skill to do or understand:The test questions were extremely difficult. It is difficult for young people to find jobs around here.hard not easy; needing effort or skill to do or understand:Teaching high school students is hard work. It was one of the hardest things I ever did.difficult or hard?Hard is slightly less formal than difficult. It is used particularly in the structure hard to believe/say/find/take, etc., although difficult can also be used in any of these examples.challenging (approving) difficult in an interesting way that tests your abilitydemanding difficult to do or deal with and needing a lot of effort, skill, or patience:It is a technically demanding piece of music to play.taxing difficult to do and needing a lot of mental or physical effort:The work can be very physically and mentally taxing.Patterns difficult/hard/challenging/demanding/taxing for somebody difficult/hard to do something physically difficult/hard/challenging/demanding/taxing technically difficult/challenging/demanding mentally/intellectually challenging/demanding/taxingIdioms
    make life difficult (for somebody)
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    to cause problems for someone She does everything she can to make life difficult for him.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: difficult