From King Dictionary of Contemporary Englishdifficultydif‧fi‧cul‧ty /ˈdɪfɪkəlti/ ●●● S2 W1 noun (plural difficulties) 1 [uncountable]DIFFICULT if you have difficulty doing something, it is difficult for you to dohave/experience difficulty (in) doing something They had great difficulty in finding a replacement.with/without difficulty He got to his feet with difficulty.Do not say that someone ‘has difficulty to do something’. Say that someone has difficulty doing something or has difficulty in doing something.2 [countable usually plural]PROBLEM a problem or something that causes troubledifficulty with There are several difficulties with this theory. If you have any difficulties, give me a call. The project soon ran into difficulties. Difficulties can arise when there is more than one defendant.3 [uncountable] if you are in difficulty, you are in a situation in which you have problemsin difficulty The business is in financial difficulty.get/run into difficulty (=get into a difficult situation) She soon got into difficulty with debt.4 [uncountable] the quality of being difficult to dothe difficulty of (doing) something the difficulty of solving such problems5 [uncountable]DIFFICULT how difficult something is The tests vary in difficulty. learning difficultiesCOLLOCATIONSMeaning 2: a problem or something that causes troubleverbshave difficultiesBy the age of eight, Robbie was having difficulties at school.run into/get into difficulties (=find yourself in a difficult situation)Three people were rescued from a boat that had got into difficulties.experience/encounter difficulties formal (=have difficulties)Graduates often experience considerable difficulties in getting their first job.face difficultiesThe hotel’s owners were facing financial difficulties.overcome/resolve difficulties (=deal with them successfully)We are confident that we can overcome these difficulties.present/pose difficulties formal (=be something that is difficult to deal with)English spelling may present some difficulties for learners.be fraught with difficulties (=involve a lot of them)The whole plan was fraught with difficulties.cause/lead to difficultiesStress and worry both cause sleep difficulties.give rise to difficulties formal (=cause them)The stormy weather gave rise to difficulties for many of the competitors in the yacht race.difficulties arise (=happen)It’s best to discuss any difficulties that arise rather than trying to deal with them alone.adjectivesmajor/serious/severe difficultiesBy then, we were having serious financial difficulties.considerable difficulties (=a lot of problems)They had considerable difficulties in getting funding for their research.technical difficultiesThe flight was delayed due to technical difficulties.practical difficulties (=problems with doing something)It’s a great idea, but there will be a number of practical difficulties.financial/economic difficultiesThe company is facing serious financial difficulties.breathing difficultiesShe was taken to hospital with breathing difficulties.marital difficulties (=in a marriage)You may need help in dealing with your marital difficulties.
Examples from the Corpus
difficultyManchester United won easily, and never seemed to be in any difficulty.The traditional way of undertaking market research is through using questionnaires but there are difficulties in gathering information by this method.The nation faces severe economic difficulties.Whitehall officials have encountered difficulties in deciding which essential services to include.Some parents experienced difficulty when they tried to move their children to other schools.She lent me a couple of hundred quid because I was in financial difficulty.Youngsters may have difficulty applying the paint because of its thin consistency.Work-inhibited children often have difficulty engaging in competitive play.Freddie is having difficulties, too.Credit cards make it extremely easy to get into difficulty with debt.Police officers in most Californian cities need to be able to cope with language difficulties and cultural differences.The main difficulty with this method is that it takes twice as long.I don't expect major difficulties, although there are still differences to be worked out.The books vary in level of difficulty.This step should ensure that the difficulty level and the volume of material in any one session are right for the students.The difficulties of experimentation in this area are well known.The difficulties of counting whales makes most population figures extremely unreliable.with/without difficultyOther nations stumbled, slid backward, moved forward again with difficulty.The process of admitting nations just now coming to democracy and capitalism has not been without difficulties.It is this lack of codified certainty that makes a study of it so fraught with difficulty.He stands up and comes over, asking me something or other, walk-ing with difficulty.This last point is not without difficulty.Some were loose, some went on only with difficulty.Only with difficulty was she able to hold back the tears, forcing herself to smile.She will be 76 next month and walks with difficulty, using a cane.get/run into difficultyBut delegates ran into difficulties in informal haggling over how to share the cuts.If you do run into difficulties, there are two possibilities; neither of which is desirable. 1.Inevitably, the proposal is running into difficulties.Soaring Inexperienced pilots get into difficulties when they are soaring.It was built successfully but two attempts to emulate and balance it soon ran into difficulties.And with the theatre running into difficulties about subsidy it's not getting any more hopeful.Many families who get into difficulties have been struggling with problems that would daunt the most energetic and resourceful of people.If you get into difficulties repaying the loan, go straight to the lender and explain the problem.the difficulty of (doing) somethingIf they are already your customers, the difficulties of changing their preferences become an asset and not a liability.We do not minimize the depth of the problem, nor the difficulty of solving it.All would be aware of the difficulty of finding ideologically acceptable forms of fun.Is this perhaps a comment on the inadequacy of the law and the difficulty of policing and getting convictions?I knew nothing about the Ober Gabelhornr's history or the difficulty of the route, or even what it looked like.Rents did not, however, necessarily solve the difficulties of town finance.Second, and more fundamentally, they drew attention to the difficulties of finding a satisfactory measure of performance in statistical terms.Yet I think you underestimate the difficulties of raising such capital.
Origin difficulty (1300-1400) Latin difficultas, from difficilis difficult, from facilis easy