American English

Definition of difficulty noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    , NAmE//ˈdɪfɪkəlti//
    (pl. difficulties)
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  1. 1[countable, usually plural, uncountable] a problem; a thing or situation that causes problems the difficulties of English syntax children with severe learning difficulties We've run into difficulties/difficulty with the new project. He got into difficulties while swimming and had to be rescued. The bank is in difficulty/difficulties. It was a time fraught with difficulties and frustration.
  2. 2[uncountable] the state or quality of being hard to do or to understand; the effort that something involves I had considerable difficulty (in) persuading her to leave. I had no difficulty (in) making myself understood. The changes were made with surprisingly little difficulty. He spoke slowly and with great difficulty. We found the house without difficulty. They discussed the difficulty of studying abroad. You cannot say “have difficulty to do something”:I had difficulty to persuade her to leave.
  3. 3[uncountable] how hard something is varying levels of difficulty questions of increasing difficulty
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: difficulty