• WordNet 3.6
    • adj difficult not easy; requiring great physical or mental effort to accomplish or comprehend or endure "a difficult task","nesting places on the cliffs are difficult of access","difficult times","why is it so hard for you to keep a secret?"
    • adj difficult hard to control "a difficult child", "an unmanageable situation"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Frog-eating bats identify edible frogs from poisonous ones by listening to the mating calls of male frogs. Frogs counter this by hiding and using short, difficult to locate calls
    • Difficult Hard to do or to make; beset with difficulty; attended with labor, trouble, or pains; not easy; arduous. "There is not the strength or courage left me to venture into the wide, strange, and difficult world, alone."
    • Difficult Hard to manage or to please; not easily wrought upon; austere; stubborn; as, a difficult person.
    • v. t Difficult To render difficult; to impede; to perplex.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: In the NHL in the 1960’s, the league decided that home teams would wear white, while visiting teams would wear their dark jerseys. The reasoning behind this was that it would be more difficult to keep white uniforms clean while on the road.
    • difficult Not easy; requiring or dependent on effort; hard; troublesome; arduous. Specifically— Hard as to doing or effecting; wanting facility of accomplishment: with an infinitive: as, it is difficult to convince him; a thing that is difficult to do or to find.
    • difficult Hard to do, perform, or overcome; attended with labor, pains, or opposition; laborious: as, a difficult undertaking.
    • difficult Hard to please or satisfy; not compliant; unaccommodating; rigid; austere: as, a person of difficult temper.
    • difficult Hard to persuade or induce; stubborn in yielding; obstinate as to opinion: as, he was difficult to convince.
    • difficult Hard to understand or solve; perplexing; puzzling: as, a difficult passage in an author; a difficult question or problem.
    • difficult Synonyms Difficult, Hard, Arduous (see arduous), laborious, toilsome; obscure, knotty.
    • difficult To make difficult; impede.
    • difficult To perplex; embarrass.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Because of the salt content of the Dead Sea, it is difficult to dive below its surface.
    • adj Difficult dif′i-kult not easy: hard to be done: requiring labour and pains: hard to please: not easily persuaded
    • ***


  • George Bernard Shaw
    “Great art is never produced for its own sake. It is too difficult to be worth the effort.”
  • Zen Saying
    Zen Saying
    “The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences.”
  • George Sala
    George Sala
    “Not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”
  • George Bernard Shaw
    “No man who is occupied in doing a very difficult thing, and doing it very well, ever loses his self-respect.”
  • Publius Terentius Afer
    Publius Terentius Afer
    “There is nothing so easy but that it becomes difficult when you do it reluctantly.”
  • Olga Korbut
    Olga Korbut
    “Don't be afraid if things seem difficult in the beginning. That's only the initial impression. The important thing is not to retreat; you have to master yourself.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
From Difficulty
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
The adj. was formed from difficulty, in place of the old form difficile. Fr. difficulté—L. difficultas = difficilitasdifficilisdif (= dis), neg., and facilis, easy.


In literature:

Backing is perhaps the most difficult and important operation in forwarding.
"Bookbinding, and the Care of Books" by Douglas Cockerell
Such deployment causes the early mingling of the larger units, thus rendering leadership and control extremely difficult.
"Manual of Military Training" by James A. Moss
Without a good chart, the entrance to this bay is difficult.
"Travels in Peru, on the Coast, in the Sierra, Across the Cordilleras and the Andes, into the Primeval Forests" by J. J. von Tschudi
Their hands had woollen gloves on, very thick, so that it was difficult to say what the hand was like inside.
"The Chronicles of a Gay Gordon" by José Maria Gordon
This alloy is so hard and brittle as to make the necessary mechanical operations difficult to manage.
"The Story of the Heavens" by Robert Stawell Ball
Evidently it was as difficult for tramps to get work as it was for them to find pennies.
"Nobody's Girl" by Hector Malot
These stigmata are small, tinged with red and rather difficult to distinguish.
"The Glow-Worm and Other Beetles" by Jean Henri Fabre
How far the picture itself appealed to them it was difficult to say.
"India and the Indians" by Edward F. Elwin
Goodness knows, it was difficult enough for the organ in its original form!
"Great Pianists on Piano Playing" by James Francis Cooke
Plot is a term difficult to define.
"English: Composition and Literature" by W. F. (William Franklin) Webster

In poetry:

Or we the past forget,
And heal her wounds too tenderly to last?
Or let today grow difficult and vast
With traitors unvoiced yet?
"To The Old Year—1865" by Mary Baker Eddy
Is there a deed so difficult for us
That none but Thou canst ask?
Thine asking be our answering. Lo! swift
Be ours that happy task.
"Hymn" by Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward
"E'en threats to punish, and to kill
With tortures difficult to bear,
Seem as they would not higher fill
The measure of my own despair!
"The Lay Of Marie - Canto Fourth" by Matilda Betham
Man's greatest lesson is mankind,
A problem difficult to solve,
I've turned it over in my mind,
And reached, at last, this sage resolve:
"Kind Gentlemen And Ladies Fair" by David John Scott
It matters not how stiff and sheer
The climb -- how difficult the sum,
I am the man they've got to hear!
I am the man that's bound to come!
"The Good Conceit" by Thomas William Hodgson Crosland
Navigation was always a difficult art,
Though with only one ship and one bell:
And he feared he must really decline, for his part,
Undertaking another as well.
"The Hunting Of The Snark " by Lewis Carroll

In news:

Progressive views of judging are difficult to defend.
Why is it so difficult to switch to agile process from waterfall.
Chastity Brown is a difficult musician to pin down.
Israel does not explicitly ban importing books to Gaza, but the blockade makes it extraordinarily difficult to do so.
Concussions can be difficult to diagnose because athletes – especially teenagers – are known for hiding or downplaying their symptoms.
Is that going to make it difficult for me to get pregnant now.
The simple chocolate chip cookie is surprisingly difficult to make well, judging from the host of dry, bland discs that regularly pose as America's favorite cookie.
If you have a sweet tooth, fancy desserts don't have to be difficult.
Darden Restaurant Inc posted improved profit and higher sales for its third quarter, but noted that the restaurant environment is still difficult to navigate as consumer sentiment remains mixed.
Michael DeMocker / The Times-Picayune Julian Wright has had a difficult time earning significant minutes this year.
Did you know that the cicadas form broods (groups), to not only get their message out together and louder, but also to make it more difficult for birds to locate them and make a meal out of them.
It's also difficult sometimes to have anniversaries recognized in the workplace if you're in a civil union WGLT's Charlie Schlenker has more with a couple seeking to change that.
Characterizing it from one piece to the next becomes difficult.
Cleaning your house, or apartment — it's not the most exciting thing to do, and often it's difficult to just get started.
Clematis are not as difficult to grow as many gardeners believe.

In science:

One of these difficult ies is linked to the affirmat ion that the entropy of an "iso lated system" can only increase (F.p.55). An "iso lated system" is a System with constant energy (F.p.11).
The Energy-Entropy Principle
The influence that is exerted and received from a Complex System is one of the reasons they are innately difficult to study.
Complex Systems
It is in this fashion that programmers can harness complexity to solve difficult problems.
Complex Systems
Trying to identify such small features at unknown wavelengths in an extrasolar planet spectrum may be very difficult. The exact wavelength and strength of the spectroscopic “red edge” depends on the plant species and environment.
Coronographic Methods for the Detection of Terrestrial Planets
Structural Material Properties Micro-snap (spontaneous release of strain) is difficult to isolate because it can originate throughout the structure.
Coronographic Methods for the Detection of Terrestrial Planets