From King Dictionary of Contemporary Englishdifficultdif‧fi‧cult /ˈdɪfɪkəlt/ ●●● S1 W1 adjective 1 DIFFICULThard to do, understand, or deal with OPP easy a difficult question an immensely difficult task Was the exam very difficult? It’s difficult to see how more savings can be made.difficult (for somebody) to understand/find/obtain etc That’s rather difficult for me to explain. He’s finding it difficult to get a job.2 PROBLEMinvolving a lot of problems and causing a lot of trouble or worry a difficult situation Things are a bit difficult at home at the moment. There could be difficult times ahead.make life/things difficult for somebody (=cause problems for someone) She’s doing everything she can to make life difficult for him.3 BAD-TEMPEREDsomeone who is difficult never seems pleased or satisfied SYN awkward Don’t be so difficult! a difficult customerTHESAURUSdifficult not easy to do, understand, or deal witha difficult questionThe homework was really difficult.It is difficult to see how peace can be achieved in the region.hard difficult. Hard is less formal than difficult and is very common in spoken EnglishThe test was really hard.a hard decisionIt was hard to forgive him.tough very difficult, because you have to use a lot of effort, or because it affects you emotionallya tough raceDoctors have to make tough decisions about who to treat first.The team faces some tough competition.Life is tough sometimes.tricky difficult because it is complicated and full of problemsShe had helped him out of a tricky situation.Merging the two companies was bound to be tricky.awkward rather difficult to deal with – used especially when something could be embarrassingYou’ve put me in a very awkward position.It was getting dark and foggy, which made the rescue even more awkward.challenging difficult in an interesting or enjoyable wayI wanted a job that was more challenging.a challenging piece of musicdemanding difficult and tiring, because it takes a lot of effortBeing a nurse in a busy hospital is a demanding job.it can be very demanding bringing up young children.daunting if something seems daunting, you think that it will be difficult and you do not feel confident about being able to do ita daunting challengeThe task seemed a little daunting at first.delicate needing to be dealt with carefully or sensitively, especially in order to avoid offending people or causing problemsThis is a very delicate subject, and it can be difficult to talk about it with your parents.He thanked me for the way in which this delicate matter had been handled.COLLOCATIONS CHECKdifficult question/decision/situation/problem etchard question/decision/testtough question/decision/job/game/racetricky question/situation/position/momentawkward question/situation/position/momentchallenging jobdemanding work/schedule/coursedaunting task/challenge/prospectdelicate subject/matter/issue
Examples from the Corpus
difficultTo be a member of more than two or three real teams at the same time is difficult.Stop being difficult!When Darren was a little boy, he was very difficult at times.This is made more difficult by the speed at which new stores are now built.I'd like to thank the staff for working very hard in these difficult conditions.Heavy snow will mean difficult driving conditions in some areas.My mother's illness makes it difficult for her to walk.The reading exercise was very difficult for most of the children.a difficult jobFelipe takes me to the coast too but it is a bit difficult now that I can not see.That's a good question, but it's a difficult one to answer.Officials say they are in the difficult position of having to implement a law they strongly.In its good fortune, Sears may illustrate several keys to thriving in a difficult retail environment.Things at home have been very difficult since my father died.My wife and I have gone through some difficult times.The difficulty with habits is that they are difficult to change.It's very difficult to find people who are willing to do the job.Until now, patients often found it difficult to get information about their rights.According to industry officials, a new breed of digital phone transmits in computer code that is much more difficult to intercept.The insects are so small that they are difficult to see without using a microscope.Being almost the colour of the rocks, the Harpies are difficult to spot before they move.Campbell has the reputation of being difficult to work with.More difficult would be patients with a deep seated psychological problem which would require more than three months' treatment.finding it difficultAdrian was finding it difficult to concentrate.His long, inexplicable silence had resulted in her feeling such misery that she was finding it difficult to eat or sleep.The World Bank is finding it difficult to improve its image.I am finding it difficult to keep up this diary knowing you are away.He's finding it difficult to picture.His daughter, however, is still finding it difficult to recover from her traumatic assault in New York.And with good reason: the signs are that Saatchi is finding it difficult to sell the management consultancy division alone.But most of them were also finding it difficult to stop smiling.make life/things difficult for somebodyHaving to adopt the fast-track method made life difficult for all three.Cabins were 71 steps down, making life difficult for disabled passengers.The lack of economic statistics has made life difficult for economists and money managers for the past few weeks.He made things difficult for her in a way he hadn't done with me.But it made things difficult for me, at times.Is the guy trying to make life difficult for music critics, or what?She is making life difficult for Tommy and himself.Inside the towns they make life difficult for you.
Origin difficult (1300-1400) difficulty