dif·fi·cult (dĭfĭ-kŭlt′, -kəlt)
1. Requiring considerable effort or skill; not easy to do or accomplish: "To entertain is far more difficult than to enlighten" (Anthony Burgess).
2. Not easy to endure; full of hardship or trouble; trying: fell upon difficult times.
3. Not easy to comprehend, solve, or explain: a difficult puzzle.
4. Not easy to please, satisfy, or manage: a difficult child.
5. Not easy to persuade or convince; stubborn.
[Middle English, back-formation from difficulte, difficulty; see DIFFICULTY.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.