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From Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary
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Origin: L. Difficultas, fr. Difficilis difficult; dif- = dis- _ facilis easy: cf. F. Difficulte. See Facile.

1. The state of being difficult, or hard to do; hardness; arduousness; opposed to easiness or facility; as, the difficulty of a task or enterprise; a work of difficulty. Not being able to promote them [the interests of life] on account of the difficulty of the region. (James Byrne)

2. Something difficult; a thing hard to do or to understand; that which occasions labour or perplexity, and requires skill perseverance to overcome, solve, or achieve; a hard enterprise; an obstacle; an impediment; as, the difficulties of a science; difficulties in theology. They lie under some difficulties by reason of the emperors displeasure. (Addison)

3. A controversy; a falling out; a disagreement; an objection; a cavil. Measures for terminating all local difficulties. (Bancroft)

4. Embarrassment of affairs, especially financial affairs; usually in the plural; as, to be in difficulties. In days of difficulty and pressure. (Tennyson)

Synonym: Impediment, obstacle, obstruction, embarrassment, perplexity, exigency, distress, trouble, trial, objection, cavil. See Impediment.