American English

Definition of trouble noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[uncountable, countable] a problem, worry, difficulty, etc. or a situation causing this We have trouble getting staff. He could make trouble for me if he wanted to. trouble (with somebody/something) The trouble with you is you don't really want to work. We've never had much trouble with vandals around here. Her trouble is she's incapable of making a decision. The trouble is (= what is difficult is) there aren't any trains at that time. The only trouble is we won't be here then. No, I don't know his number—I have enough trouble remembering my own. financial troubles She was on the phone for an hour telling me her troubles. Our troubles aren't over yet.
  2. illness/pain
  3. 2[uncountable] illness or pain back trouble I've been having trouble with my knee.
  4. with machine
  5. 3[uncountable] something that is wrong with a machine, vehicle, etc. mechanical trouble My car's been having engine trouble.
  6. difficult/violent situation
  7. 4[uncountable] a situation that is difficult or dangerous; a situation in which you can be criticized or punished The company ran into trouble early on, when a major order was canceled. A yachtsman got into trouble off the coast and had to be rescued. If I don't get this finished in time, I'll be in trouble. He's in trouble with the police. My brother was always getting me into trouble with my parents.
  8. 5[uncountable] an angry or violent situation The police were expecting trouble after the match. If you're not in by midnight, there'll be trouble (= I'll be very angry). He had to throw out a group of men who were causing trouble in the bar.
  9. extra effort
  10. 6[uncountable] trouble (to somebody) extra effort or work synonym bother I don't want to put you to a lot of trouble. I'll get it if you like, that will save you the trouble of going out. Making your own yogurt is more trouble than it's worth. She went to a lot of trouble to find the book for me. He thanked me for my trouble and left. Nothing is ever too much trouble for her (= she's always ready to help). I can call back later—it's no trouble (= I don't mind). I hope the children weren't too much trouble.
  11. Idioms
    be asking for trouble, be asking for it (informal)
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    to behave in a way that is very likely to result in trouble If you keep teasing that cat, you are just asking for trouble!
    get somebody into trouble (old-fashioned)
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    to make a woman who is not married pregnant
    give (somebody) (some, no, any, etc.) trouble
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    to cause problems or difficulties My back's been giving me a lot of trouble lately. The children didn't give me any trouble at all when we were out.
    look for trouble
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    to behave in a way that is likely to cause an argument, violence, etc. Drunken youths hang around outside looking for trouble.
    take trouble over/with something, take trouble doing/to do something
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    to try hard to do something well They take a lot of trouble to find the right person for the right job.
    take the trouble to do something
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    to do something even though it involves effort or difficulty synonym make the effort She didn't even take the trouble to find out how to spell my name.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: trouble