Definition of “problem” - English Dictionary

“problem” in English

See all translations

problemnoun [ C ]

uk /ˈprɒb.ləm/ us /ˈprɑː.bləm/

A1 a situation, person, or thing that needs attention and needs to be dealt with or solved:

financial/health problems
Our main problem is lack of cash.
I'm having problems with my computer.
No one has solved the problem of what to do with radioactive waste.
The very high rate of inflation poses/presents (= is) a serious problem for the government.
Who is going to tackle (= deal with) the problem of poverty in the inner cities?
[ + -ing verb ] Did you have any problems (= difficulties) getting here?
I'd love to come - the only problem is I've got friends staying that night.

a question in mathematics that needs an answer:

We were given ten problems to solve.
problem child, family, etc.

a child, etc. whose behaviour is bad

More examples

(Definition of “problem” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“problem” in American English

See all translations

problemnoun [ C ]

us /ˈprɑb·ləm/

something that causes difficulty or that is hard to deal with:

Financing the camp’s athletic program is a problem.
He has a serious health problem.
I’m having problems with my in-laws again.

mathematics A problem is also a question to be answered or solved, esp. by reasoning or calculating:

math problems

(Definition of “problem” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

Help us add to the Cambridge Dictionary!

These examples are from external sources. Click on the icon to tell us if any are not OK.


I can say that we have left no stone unturned in tackling this problem, including the removal of entire herds where an infected animal has in fact been diagnosed.
And, of course, there is the traditional problem of the representation of women, which all the speakers have already touched on.
In 1985, with the revelation that there was a hole in the stratospheric ozone layer, the media began to take a real interest in the problem.
The situation in the north is different from that in the south, and different from the situation in those countries which have the problem of desert areas.
However, we have noticed in this case that one of these annexes raises a serious problem of immediate conformity and implementation for the industries concerned.
Cooperation between the content industry (mainly music and film) and telecom operators is encouraged in order to deal with the problem of piracy (illegal downloads).
The essence of high taxation is a national problem and should remain so, and governments nationally should take responsibility for it.
Clear, well-defined rules governing the matter are also necessary in order to avoid the right to asylum being confused with the problem of immigration.
Then there is still the staffing problem.
In fact, we should do this as soon as possible in order to avoid this problem becoming our problem in six years or so.

Blogs about "problem"

by katewoodford,