Definition of problem noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈprɒbləm//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈprɑːbləm//
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  1. 1  a thing that is difficult to deal with or to understand big/major/serious problems health/family, etc. problems financial/practical/technical problems to address/tackle/solve a problem (especially North American English) to fix a problem the problem of drug abuse If he chooses Mary it's bound to cause problems. Let me know if you have any problems. Most students face the problem of funding themselves while they are studying. The problem first arose in 2008. Unemployment is a very real problem for graduates now. It’s a nice table! The only problem is (that) it’s too big for our room. Stop worrying about their marriage—it isn't your problem. There's no history of heart problems (= disease connected with the heart) in our family. the magazine’s problem page (= containing letters about readers’ problems and advice about how to solve them)
  2. 2a question that can be answered by using logical thought or mathematics mathematical problems to find the answer to the problem The teacher set us 50 problems to do. Wordfinderalgebra, arithmetic, calculus, equation, geometry, logarithm, maths, numeracy, problem, trigonometry
  3. Word Origin late Middle English (originally denoting a riddle or a question for academic discussion): from Old French probleme, via Latin from Greek problēma, from proballein ‘put forth’, from pro ‘before’ + ballein ‘to throw’.Extra examples All the anti-depressant does is mask the problem. Depression is a natural feeling if your problems seem intractable. Do you have a problem with her? For years I’ve tried to overlook this problem. Fortunately, it’s easy to avoid any potential problems. Framing the problem is an important step. He believes he may have found a solution to the problem. He developed a drinking problem. He doesn’t really see the problem. He doesn’t seem to understand my problem. He had to undergo surgery to cure the problem with his knee. He has been faced with all manner of problems in his new job. Her new job had taken her mind off her family problems for a while. His teachers say he has an attitude problem. I didn’t imagine there would be a problem about getting tickets. I don’t anticipate any future problems in that regard. I forgot my problems for a moment. I have five problems to do for homework. I’m glad you finally admitted your problem. If the problem persists you should see a doctor. Inadequate resources pose a problem for all members of staff. Most people can see the ethical problem with accepting such an offer. No one ever asked why or how the problem originated. One out of every five people is a problem drinker. Our greatest problem is the lack of funds. She had serious substance abuse problems with both cocaine and heroin. She raised the problem of falling sales at the last meeting. Staff shortages cause problems for the organization. Success brings its own problems. Systemic security problems have been identified. The accident poses a terrible problem for the family. The basic problem remains the lack of available housing. The next meeting will address the problem of obesity. The plan has been fraught with problems from the start. The problem lies in the lack of communication between managers and staff. The rail strike is a problem for all commuters. The role of the sun in climate change is still a big unsolved problem. The traffic in illegal drugs is a global problem. Therein lies the problem. These symptoms may indicate a serious problem. They blame the problem on the new prescription drug law. They created a task force to study this problem. They sold their car to ease their financial problems. This illustrates another potential problem. This kind of activity develops the children’s problem-solving skills. This underscores the biggest problem with electronic voting. Unforeseen problems often arise. We had communication problems. We need to get to the root of the problem before we can solve it. We’re faced with a whole host of new problems. a new approach to problem drinking a problem resulting from technical inadequacy an elegant solution to a very complex set of problems an important step in battling the terrorist problem problems arising from poor ventilation solving simple mathematical problems the ability to solve simple mathematical problems the inherent problems of merging two very different companies the problem of poverty the problems attributed to capitalism the underlying problem that’s causing your high blood pressure ‘But what am I supposed to do now?’ ‘Don’t ask me— it’s not my problem/​that’s your problem. ‘Can I pay by credit card?’ ‘Yes, no problem.’ If he chooses Mary it’s bound to cause problems. It’s a nice table. The only problem is it’s too big for the room. Most students face the problem of funding themselves while they study. Stop worrying about their marriage—it isn’t your problem. There’s no history of heart problems in our family. This is one of the great problems of cosmology: where did the overall structure of the universe come from? a mathematical/​philosophical problemIdioms
    have a problem with something
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    to disagree with or object to something I have no problem with you working at home tomorrow. (informal) We are going to do this my way. Do you have a problem with that? (= showing that you are impatient with the person that you are speaking to)
    it’s/that’s not my problem
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    (informal) used to show that you do not care about somebody else’s difficulties If they can't afford to go, that's not my problem.
    1. 1  (also not a problem) used to show that you are happy to help somebody or that something will be easy to do ‘Can I pay by credit card?’ ‘Yes, no problem.’
    2. 2  used after somebody has thanked you or said they are sorry for something ‘Thanks for the ride.’ ‘No problem.’
    that’s her/his/their/your problem
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    (informal) used to show that you think a person should deal with their own difficulties ‘My parents will be furious!’ ‘That’s your problem.’
    (informal) used to show that you think somebody is being unreasonable What's your problem?—I only asked if you could help me for ten minutes.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: problem