Meaning of PROBLEM in English


1. something that causes difficulties

2. something that makes you feel worried or unhappy

3. a problem that stops you from making progress

4. an extremely difficult or complicated problem

5. full of problems

6. to have a problem

7. to be in a very difficult situation

8. when a fact or situation causes problems

9. to make progress difficult

10. when someone causes problems, especially deliberately

11. someone who causes a lot of problems

12. to cause extra work or inconvenience for someone

13. what you say when you are explaining a problem

14. what you say to ask someone about a problem


see also





1. something that causes difficulties

▷ problem /ˈprɒbləmǁˈprɑː-/ [countable noun]

a bad situation that must be dealt with, because it is causing harm or inconvenience, or it is stopping you from doing what you want to do :

have a problem

▪ If you have any problems, give me a call.

problem with

▪ Sue’s had a lot of problems with her neighbours recently.

cause/create problems

▪ The new traffic system is causing problems for everyone.

solve a problem

find a way to deal with it

▪ Scientists still have not solved the problem of what to do with nuclear waste.

the drug/crime etc problem

▪ Federal laws have almost no effect on the crime problem that concerns most people - crime on the streets.

problem of

▪ The problem of substance abuse in high school is widespread.

big/serious problem

▪ Our biggest problem is lack of money.

▪ Whiteflies can be a serious problem that affects produce grown in California and other states.

▷ difficulty /ˈdɪfɪk ə lti/ []

a problem that makes it more difficult to do something that you are trying to do :

▪ I don’t expect major difficulties, although there are still differences to be worked out.

difficulty with

▪ The main difficulty with this method is that it takes twice as long.

have difficulty with (doing) something

▪ Youngsters may have difficulty applying the paint because of its thin consistency.

get into difficulty/difficulties

start to have problems in a situation

▪ Credit cards make it extremely easy to get into difficulty with debt.

economic/financial difficulty

▪ The nation faces severe economic difficulties.

language/technical/legal etc difficulty

▪ Police officers in most Californian cities need to be able to cope with language difficulties and cultural differences.

face/experience difficulty

▪ Some parents experienced difficulty when they tried to move their children to other schools.

be in difficulty/difficulties

be in a situation that has problems

▪ Manchester United won easily, and never seemed to be in any difficulty.

difficulty of doing something

▪ The difficulties of counting whales makes most population figures extremely unreliable.

▷ trouble /ˈtrʌb ə l/ [countable/uncountable noun]

a problem or several problems that make something difficult, spoil your plans etc :

▪ The trouble was caused by a loose connection in the fuse box.

▪ If you used the same tape later and had no sound trouble, the problem is in the video recorder, not the tape.

trouble with

▪ The pilot reported trouble with both engines.

have trouble

▪ We have had a lot of trouble with the car this year.

have trouble doing something

▪ Norris had trouble finding work and is still unemployed.

cause trouble

▪ Snow and freezing temperatures caused trouble at many airports.

the trouble with something

the one feature of something that is a problem

▪ The trouble with lasagne is that it takes so long to make.

▷ hassle /ˈhæs ə l/ [countable/uncountable noun] informal

a problem or a series of problems that are annoying because they involve a lot of work, arguing, inconvenience etc :

▪ The airline doesn’t make seat assignments, which can be a hassle for travelers, but it saves money.

▪ Shopping by mail avoids the hassles of crowded stores at Christmastime.

legal/bureaucratic etc hassles

▪ Byrd says he settled the claim to avoid legal hassles.

it’s too much hassle

▪ I don’t want to organize a big party - it’s too much hassle.

▷ complication /ˌkɒmplɪˈkeɪʃ ə n, ˌkɒmpləˈkeɪʃ ə nǁˌkɑːm-/ [countable noun]

an additional problem that makes a situation even harder to deal with than it already is :

▪ One complication is that the meals also need to be suitable for children of Islamic or Jewish faiths.

▪ Legal and financial complications have made it impossible for the two companies to complete the deal on time.

▷ hitch /hɪtʃ/ [countable noun]

a small problem within a long process :

▪ The plan has a hitch: drilling holes for the owls in the trees will kill the trees.

without a hitch

without any problems

▪ The parade went off without a hitch, despite concern about protestors.

▪ The shuttle landed without a hitch at Edwards Air Force Base.

there’s a hitch

▪ There was a hitch - about half the employees did not want to move to a different city.

hitch in

▪ Nelson refused to comment on reports of a last-minute hitch in the negotiations.

technical hitch

▪ There’s been a slight technical hitch, so we’ll have to postpone the video until later.

▷ hiccup /ˈhɪkʌp, -kəp/ [countable noun]

a small problem which is not very important compared to other things :

▪ There was a slight hiccup when I couldn’t find my car keys, but finally we set off.

▪ The airline industry’s troubles are a mere hiccup in an otherwise upward growth trend.

▷ snag /snæg/ [countable noun]

a small problem or disadvantage in something which is mainly good and satisfactory :

▪ The cleanup effort was delayed for a few days by some technical snags and equipment problems.

hit a snag/run into a snag

▪ The case hit a snag in October when the judge handling it had to be replaced.

last-minute snag

▪ The House worked out some last-minute snags in the legislation.

▷ catch /kætʃ/ [singular noun]

a hidden problem or disadvantage in an offer that seems very good - use this especially when you think the problem has been deliberately hidden to trick people :

there’s a catch

▪ You get free meals and accommodation, but there’s a catch -- you have to look after the children.

with a catch

▪ Many of the best deals come with a catch: they are only good through early summer.

the catch is (that)

▪ The catch is that you can’t enter the contest unless you have spent $50 in the store.

▷ teething troubles/pains/problems /ˈtiːðɪŋ ˌtrʌb ə lz, ˌpeɪns, ˌprɒbləmzǁ-ˌprɑː-/ [plural noun] British

small problems that a new company, product, system etc has at the beginning :

▪ After a few teething troubles, the new car worked perfectly.

▪ The disagreement was just one of the teething problems of the partnership.

2. something that makes you feel worried or unhappy

▷ problem /ˈprɒbləmǁˈprɑː-/ [countable noun usually plural]

something that happens in your life that makes you feel worried, unhappy, or ill :

have a problem

▪ Bill isn’t sleeping well - I think he’s having problems at school.

personal problems

▪ She’s had a lot of personal problems - her mother died when she was eight.

health problems

▪ Tannen retired early due to health problems.

▷ troubles /ˈtrʌb ə lz/ [plural noun]

things that make you feel worried and unhappy, especially problems that have continued for a long time :

▪ It’s nice to talk to someone about your troubles.

▪ Parents can get wrapped up in their own troubles, and not notice how it’s affecting their children.

3. a problem that stops you from making progress

▷ setback /ˈsetbæk/ [countable noun]

something that happens which stops you making progress or which makes things worse than they were before :

▪ Arafat has survived crises, setbacks, and challenges to his leadership.

have/suffer a setback

▪ The peace talks have suffered a series of setbacks.

setback for

▪ The court’s decision was a major setback for Bradley.

setback in

▪ Manning suffered a setback in his battle against alcoholism.

serious/major/big setback

▪ The two losses are a serious setback for the team’s playoff hopes.

political/economic/legal etc setback

▪ The decision is a legal setback for the steel company.

business/election etc setback

▪ He had been depressed over a number of business setbacks.

▷ hurdle /ˈhɜːʳdl/ [countable noun]

a problem or difficulty that must be dealt with before you can do or achieve something else :

▪ The main hurdle at present is getting the council’s permission.

legal/bureaucratic/political etc hurdle

▪ Women face a lot of legal hurdles trying to prove sexual harassment.

▪ There are lots of bureaucratic hurdles to deal with when adopting a child.

hurdle for

▪ Requiring school uniforms can be a financial hurdle for the poor.

clear/pass a hurdle

▪ The bill has cleared all the hurdles before it and will soon become law.

▷ stumbling block /ˈstʌmblɪŋ blɒkǁ-blɑːk/ [countable noun]

a fact or situation that will make it very difficult for something to be achieved :

▪ Negotiations with management broke off Tuesday, with wage proposals the stumbling block.

stumbling block to

▪ Each side has accused the others of creating stumbling blocks to peace.

stumbling block for

▪ Mortgage interest rates have fallen, but large down payments remain a stumbling block for house buyers.

▷ hindrance /ˈhɪndrəns/ [countable/uncountable noun]

something that makes it very difficult for you to do what you are trying to do :

▪ America’s top golfers played well despite the hindrance of early morning mist.

▪ I concentrated on my career, feeling that a family would be a hindrance.

be a hindrance to

▪ The country’s poor infrastructure is a major hindrance to importers.

▪ The biggest hindrance to economic reform has been the lack of access to U.S. markets.

without hindrance

▪ Travelers can move through the country without hindrance.

more of a hindrance than a help

causing more problems than there would be otherwise

▪ The girls wanted to set the table, but they were more of a hindrance than a help.

▷ obstacle /ˈɒbstək ə lǁˈɑːb-/ [countable noun]

a difficult problem that stops someone or something making progress or developing :

▪ The deal should go through, but there are several legal obstacles to overcome first.

▪ There are a number of obstacles in the way of a lasting peace settlement.

obstacle to

▪ There’s no reason why the fact of being a parent should be an obstacle to women’s career progression.

4. an extremely difficult or complicated problem

▷ dilemma /dɪˈlemə, dəˈlemə, daɪ-/ [countable noun]

a situation in which it is very difficult to decide what to do, because all the choices seem equally good or equally bad :

▪ It is a common dilemma: Should you stay where you have friends and family, or take that good job in a far-away city?

face a dilemma

▪ With a child on each opposing team, Dad was faced with a dilemma: which supporters should he sit with?

ethical dilemma

▪ Writers are debating the ethical dilemma raised by the parents who did not want their Siamese twins separated.

▷ catch-22 /ˌkætʃ twenti ˈtuː/ [uncountable noun]

a situation in which you cannot do one thing until you do another thing, but you cannot do that thing until you do the first thing, with the result that you can do neither :

▪ It’s catch-22 -- she can’t get a job unless she has experience, and she can’t get experience unless she has a job.

a catch-22 situation

▪ It’s a catch-22 situation: The project won’t receive government money until it is shown to be successful, but it cannot be successful without adequate funds.

▷ no-win situation /ˌnəʊ ˈwɪn sɪtʃuˌeɪʃ ə n/ [singular noun]

a situation in which something bad will happen whatever you decide to do :

▪ It’s a no-win situation -- if I tell him, he’ll be upset, but if I don’t he’ll be mad at me for not telling him.

▪ Hospitals are in a no-win situation, since protecting patients’ privacy may conflict with protecting the health of doctors, nurses, and other hospital workers.

▷ a chicken-and-egg problem/situation/dilemma /ə ˌtʃɪkə̇n ənd ˈeg ˌprɒbləm, sɪtʃuˌeɪʃ ə n, də̇ˌleməǁ-ˌprɑː-/ [noun phrase]

a difficult situation in which you do not know which of two things was the cause of the other and which was the result, because neither could exist if the other did not :

▪ We all hate lawyers, but they’re in business because so many people sue each other: it’s a classic chicken-and-egg situation.

▪ The airport faces a chicken-and-egg dilemma: Airlines won’t add more flights unless there is more demand, and there won’t be more demand until there are more flights.

▷ vicious circle /ˌvɪʃəs ˈsɜːʳk ə l/ [singular noun]

a situation in which one problem causes another problem, that then causes the first problem again, so that the whole process continues to be repeated :

▪ Many people who diet put on even more weight when they stop, creating a vicious circle.

▪ More and more teenagers are caught in a vicious circle of drug addiction and crime.

5. full of problems

▷ problematic /ˌprɒbləˈmætɪk◂ǁˌprɑː-/ [adjective]

full of problems and difficult to deal with :

▪ It is important to understand the problematic nature of historical evidence.

▪ The new salary scale remains a problematic area.

highly problematic

▪ The Foreign Minister said that relations between the two countries are ‘highly problematic’.

▷ fraught with problems/difficulties /ˌfrɔːt wɪð ˈprɒbləms, ˈdɪfɪk ə ltizǁ-ˈprɑː-/ [adjective phrase]

use this about an activity or plan that is full of unexpected problems which make it very difficult :

▪ The preparations for the wedding were fraught with difficulties, but finally everything went well.

▪ Legalization of drugs would be fraught with problems, but the ‘war on drugs’ causes problems too.

▷ minefield /ˈmaɪnfiːld/ [singular noun]

an activity or subject where you have to be very careful, because it is full of hidden problems and risks, so that it is very easy to make mistakes or upset people :

▪ House-buying can be a minefield -- you need a good lawyer.

▪ Mozart’s music seems so danceable, but most choreographers regard it as a minefield.

▷ can of worms /ˌkæn əv ˈwɜːʳmz/ [noun phrase] informal

a situation or subject which at first seems to be simple and easy to deal with, but is full of complicated problems for anyone who gets involved with it :

▪ Census questions about race are a pretty big can of worms.

open up a can of worms

suddenly find that you have to deal with a lot of difficult and unexpected problems

▪ The government opened up a can of worms when it decided to reorganize the education system.

6. to have a problem

▷ have a problem /ˌhæv ə ˈprɒbləmǁ-ˈprɑː-/ [verb phrase]

▪ If you have any problems, just come and ask me.

▪ I had a few problems getting the copier to work.

have a problem with

▪ I’m having a bit of a problem with my dishwasher.

▪ One landowner says he has never had any problems with hikers crossing his property.

▪ Jane can be quite difficult to get on with -- I’ve had one or two problems with her in the past.

▷ have trouble/difficulty /hæv ˈtrʌb ə l, ˈdɪfɪk ə lti/ [verb phrase]

to have problems that make it more difficult to do something :

▪ You look as if you’re having trouble -- do you want any help?

have trouble/difficulty with

▪ I had some trouble with the car this morning.

▪ She’s having a little difficulty with her spelling.

have trouble/difficulty doing something

▪ He had a lot of trouble finding a job.

▪ The child was having difficulty breathing.

▷ be in trouble /biː ɪn ˈtrʌb ə l/ [verb phrase]

to have serious problems :

▪ It’s clear from these figures that the company is in trouble.

▪ When someone’s in trouble it’s natural to try and help them.

get into trouble

start having serious problems

▪ I took out a loan but got into trouble when I lost my job.

in deep/serious/big trouble

have very serious problems

▪ Consular officers can help and advise you if you are in any serious trouble while abroad.

▷ have a hard time /hæv ə ˌhɑːʳd ˈtaɪm/ [verb phrase]

to have a lot of problems or a lot of difficulty doing something :

▪ Premature babies have a hard time even under the best of circumstances.

have a hard time doing something

▪ A lot of people are having a hard time making ends meet.

▪ Anyone calling the 202 area code this weekend had a hard time getting through.

▷ be faced with /biː ˈfeɪst wɪð/ [verb phrase]

to have a problem, a difficult choice, or the possibility of something bad happening soon :

▪ We are often faced with dilemmas or problems which have no easy answers.

▪ Manufacturing industries are faced with decreasing productivity and increasing international competition.

▪ When faced with an unfamiliar word, good readers are able to make guesses based on the meaning and structure of the sentence.

▷ be up against /biː ˈʌp əgenst/ [verb phrase]

to have a difficult problem or opponent that you must deal with or fight against :

▪ The company is up against tough competition from abroad.

▪ When you’re surfing and get hit by a wave, it’s a reminder of what you’re up against.

▪ In the semi-finals he will be up against one of the best players in the game.

▷ come up against /ˌkʌm ˈʌp əgenst/ [verb phrase]

to start having problems or difficulties that you have to deal with :

▪ Older people applying for jobs come up against an age barrier.

▪ The committee found itself coming up against the prejudices of many staff when it tried to introduce new working practices.

▷ encounter /ɪnˈkaʊntəʳ/ [transitive verb]

to experience problems, difficulties, or opposition while you are trying to do something :

▪ Drivers on the M25 are likely to encounter fog and black ice tonight.

▪ Many of the children encountered some difficulty in learning the material.

▪ The government has encountered strong opposition over its plans to build a new airport.

▷ run into problems/difficulties /ˌrʌn ɪntə ˈprɒblemz, ˈdɪfɪk ə ltizǁ-ˈprɑː-/ [verb phrase]

to unexpectedly start having problems while you are doing something :

▪ The corporation has run into serious financial problems.

▪ Our staff will be happy to answer your questions should you run into difficulties installing the equipment yourself.

▷ have a lot on your plate /hæv ə ˌlɒt ɒn jɔːʳ ˈpleɪtǁ-ˌlɑːt-/ [verb phrase not in progressive] informal

to have a lot of difficult problems to deal with or a lot of things to worry about :

▪ Don’t bother your mother -- she’s got a lot on her plate at the moment.

▪ Susan’s had a lot on her plate recently, what with the car accident and everything.

7. to be in a very difficult situation

▷ be in a fix /biː ɪn ə ˈfɪks/ [verb phrase] informal

to be in a difficult situation and not know what to do :

▪ The team’s owner is in a fix - he’s spent a lot to improve the stadium, but ticket sales are still declining.

▪ Wyck’s business consists of helping, for a fee, computer owners who are in a technical fix.

▷ be in a tight spot/corner /biː ɪn ə ˌtaɪt ˈspɒt, ˈkɔːʳnəʳǁ-ˈspɑːt-/ [verb phrase]

to be in a very difficult or dangerous situation, when there is very little you can do to get out of it :

▪ A mobile phone lets you reach help when you’re in a tight spot.

▪ O'Neill had been in tight corners before, but never as tight as this one.

put somebody in a tight spot

give someone a difficult problem

▪ Losing his job put them in a tight spot financially.

▷ be in a mess/be a mess /biː ɪn ə ˈmes, biː ə ˈmes/ [verb phrase]

to have so many problems that there is not much hope that things will get better, especially as a result of past mistakes :

▪ The previous manager had left the restaurant’s affairs in a terrible mess.

get into a mess

▪ How did you manage to get into this mess in the first place?

somebody’s life is a mess

they have a lot of problems and seem unable to deal with them

▪ Her boyfriend left her and she lost her job - her life is just a mess at the moment.

▷ be in a difficult/awkward position /biː ɪn ə ˌdɪfɪk ə lt, ˌɔːkwəʳd pəˈzɪʃ ə n/ [verb phrase]

to be in a difficult situation because whatever you do, you are likely to offend someone or make things worse :

▪ I was in a difficult position, as I was being asked to confront a man who had much more power than I did.

put somebody in a difficult/awkward position

▪ Clara was angry at Harry for putting her in such an awkward position.

▷ be in an impossible position /biː ɪn ən ɪmˌpɒsə̇b ə l pəˈzɪʃ ə nǁ-ˌpɑː-/ [verb phrase]

to be in an extremely difficult situation, because whatever you do there will certainly be serious trouble :

▪ I’m in an impossible position -- if I criticize him he may resign, but if I don’t he’ll end up ruining the whole project.

put somebody in an impossible position

▪ By bringing his objections out into the open, the Chancellor has put the Prime Minister in an impossible position.

▷ be in a quandary /biː ɪn ə ˈkwɒndəriǁ-ˈkwɑːn-/ [verb phrase]

to be in a very difficult situation and not be able to decide what is the best thing for you to do :

▪ I was in a quandary - I didn’t know whether to tell the police or not.

▪ The government has got itself into a quandary over the new tax -- if they abandon it they will be seen as weak, if they keep it they will be very unpopular.

▷ be in dire straits /biː ɪn ˌdaɪəʳ ˈstreɪts/ [verb phrase]

to have very serious problems, especially financial ones, which could have very serious results :

▪ The company is in dire financial straits.

▪ The team is in such dire straits they’ve even considered selling their three best players.

▷ it’s one thing after another /ɪts ˌwʌn θɪŋ ɑːftər əˈnʌðəʳǁ-æf-/ spoken

say this when you have had a series of problems and you feel that these problems will never end :

▪ It’s been one thing after another since I started renting out the place to students.

▪ It’s one thing after another with that stupid photocopier! What’s wrong with it now?

8. when a fact or situation causes problems

▷ cause/create/pose a problem /ˌkɔːz, kriˌeɪt, ˌpəʊz ə ˈprɒbləmǁ-ˈprɑː-/ [verb phrase]

to cause a problem that has to be dealt with :

▪ You would be the only woman on a staff of over thirty men, which could create problems.

▪ Both parents and teachers are worried about the problems posed by drugs.

cause/create/pose a problem for

▪ Rebecca was frequently late for work, which caused problems for her colleagues.

▪ Rising inflation could pose a major problem for the government.

▷ make life difficult /ˌmeɪk laɪf ˈdɪfɪk ə lt/ [verb phrase]

to cause problems for someone and make it difficult or inconvenient for them to do what they want to do :

▪ Petty arguments between staff have made the manager’s life difficult.

make life difficult for

▪ The rail strikes are making life increasingly difficult for people who have to travel into London every day.

▷ present a problem/difficulty /prɪˌzent ə ˈprɒbləm, ˈdɪfɪk ə ltiǁ-ˈprɑː-/ [verb phrase]

if an activity or a plan presents a problem, there is a problem connected with it that has to be dealt with :

▪ Constructing a highway in this area would present enormous difficulties.

present a problem/difficulty for

▪ Live television programmes present special problems for the broadcaster.

present somebody with a problem/difficulty

▪ Britain’s relationship with other members of the European Union presents Blair with problems, just as it did for the Tories.

▷ troublesome /ˈtrʌb ə ls ə m/ [adjective]

something that is troublesome keeps causing problems over a period of time :

▪ The infection can be particularly troublesome if it affects the lungs or throat.

▪ The plant is regarded as a troublesome weed in rice fields.

▷ be a headache /biː ə ˈhedeɪk/ [verb phrase] informal

to cause problems over a period of time that are difficult to deal with :

▪ Messy walkways and picnic tables are just some of the headaches caused by the hundreds of ducks that gather by the lake.

be a headache for

▪ Censorship is always a constant headache for newspapers in the republic.

give somebody a headache

▪ The scandal has given the minister a very public headache.

▷ plague /pleɪg/ [transitive verb]

if difficulties, illnesses, doubts, problems etc plague someone, there are a lot of them and they keep causing trouble for a long time :

▪ Social problems plague these low-income communities.

▪ The area is plagued by soil erosion and flooding.

▷ dog /dɒgǁdɔːg/ [transitive verb]

if a problem or bad luck dogs someone or something, it keeps causing trouble for a long time and prevents them from succeeding :

▪ The team has been dogged by injury all season.

▪ Zambia had none of the heritage of war and violence that dogged, say, Kenya or Zimbabwe.

9. to make progress difficult

▷ hamper /ˈhæmpəʳ/ [transitive verb]

to make it very difficult for an activity or plan to continue successfully :

▪ Search efforts were hampered by strong winds and fifteen foot waves.

▪ The police’s work is hampered by people who file false complaints.

▪ Health care costs are severely hampering the nation’s small businesses.

▷ hinder /ˈhɪndəʳ/ [transitive verb]

to cause problems and therefore delay the development or progress of something :

▪ Higher interest rates could hinder economic growth.

▪ Society’s attitudes about women hinder any real progress toward equality.

▪ Heavy rains had hindered the expedition’s progress through the north-west of the country.

▷ impede /ɪmˈpiːd/ [transitive verb]

to make progress or the development of something slower or more difficult :

▪ Progress has been impeded by a number of economic factors.

▪ In fact, the use of these drugs may even impede the patient’s recovery.

10. when someone causes problems, especially deliberately

▷ cause/create problems /ˌkɔːz, kriˌeɪt ˈprɒbləmzǁ-ˈprɑː-/ [verb phrase]

to cause a problem, even if you do not intend to :

▪ After a while, John started causing problems in class.

▪ They have two good running backs who can cause problems for our team’s defense.

▪ A popular independent candidate could create problems for the Democrats by taking away votes.

▷ cause/make trouble /ˌkɔːz, ˌmeɪk ˈtrʌb ə l/ [verb phrase]

to deliberately cause problems, especially by starting arguments or fights :

▪ Don’t give him another drink, or he’ll start causing trouble.

▪ Some of the demonstrators were determined to make trouble, whatever the police did.

▪ It’s not just gang members that cause trouble, it’s middle- and upper-class kids too.

▷ make life difficult /ˌmeɪk laɪf ˈdɪfɪk ə lt/ [verb phrase]

to deliberately cause problems and make it difficult for someone to do something, for example in order to punish them or persuade them to do something :

▪ They can’t actually stop us, but they could make life difficult.

make life difficult for

▪ Some employers have made life difficult for employees who need time off for extended illnesses.

▷ give somebody a hard time /ˌgɪv somebody ə ˌhɑːʳd ˈtaɪm/ [verb phrase] informal

to deliberately treat someone badly and cause trouble for them, for example by criticizing them, complaining, or asking them a lot of difficult questions :

▪ When I first came here everyone gave me a really hard time, because I was the first woman to run a department.

give sb a hard time about

▪ My mother gave me a really hard time about Freddy. She couldn’t stand him.

▷ rock the boat /ˌrɒk ðə ˈbəʊtǁˌrɑːk-/ [verb phrase] informal

to cause problems by making changes in a situation that everyone else thinks is satisfactory :

▪ We have a pretty good life here. Why rock the boat?

▪ Judge Thurgood Marshall never hesitated to rock the boat, from the beginning of his long legal career.

▪ A lot of people have a don’t-rock-the boat mentality that stops them from complaining.

11. someone who causes a lot of problems

▷ troublemaker /ˈtrʌb ə lˌmeɪkəʳ/ [countable noun]

someone who deliberately causes problems, especially by complaining a lot or trying to make people fight or argue :

▪ The violence was started by a small group of troublemakers.

▪ Women who point out cases of harassment risk being labelled troublemakers.

▷ difficult/awkward /ˈdɪfɪk ə lt, ˈɔːkwəʳd/ [adjective]

someone who is difficult or awkward causes a lot of problems, because they behave in an unreasonable or unhelpful way :

▪ Darren’s always been such a difficult child.

difficult/awkward about

▪ She’s being really awkward about the divorce.

12. to cause extra work or inconvenience for someone

▷ inconvenience somebody/cause (somebody) inconvenience /ˌɪnkənˈviːniəns somebody, ˌkɔːz somebody ɪnkənˈviːniəns/ [transitive verb/verb phrase]

to cause problems for someone by making them do something that is inconvenient for them :

▪ Would I be inconveniencing you if I arrived about ten thirty?

▪ The builders promised the Browns that they would not be inconvenienced for more than two days.

cause inconvenience for somebody

▪ It was weeks before a decision was made, which caused inconvenience for everyone.

cause somebody inconvenience

▪ If you don’t remember your password, you’ll cause yourself a lot of inconvenience.

▷ put somebody out /ˌpʊt somebody ˈaʊt/ [transitive phrasal verb]

to make someone have to do something that is inconvenient for them by asking them to do something for you :

▪ Are you sure you don’t mind picking the children up from school? I don’t want to put you out.

▪ I hope I’m not putting you out, but I need someone to stay in the office at lunchtime today.

▷ trouble /ˈtrʌb ə l/ [transitive verb]

to cause someone problems or more work than usual :

▪ I didn’t want to trouble you - you have your own problems.

▪ She doesn’t want to trouble you by asking lots of questions.

▷ put somebody to a lot of trouble /ˌpʊt somebody tʊ ə ˌlɒt əv ˈtrʌb ə l ǁ-ˌlɑːt-/ [verb phrase]

to make someone spend a lot of time or use a lot of effort in doing something for you :

▪ We’ve put her to a lot of trouble. Why don’t we get her some flowers?

▪ I don’t want to put you to any trouble.

13. what you say when you are explaining a problem

▷ the trouble/problem is /ðə ˌtrʌb ə l, ˌprɒbləm ˈɪzǁ-ˌprɑː-/ spoken

say this when you are explaining why something is difficult or what is causing problems :

▪ The trouble is, there’s no-one here who really understands computers.

the trouble/problem is (that)

▪ The problem is that we can’t really afford the plane fare.

the trouble/problem with something is

▪ The trouble with using credit cards is that it’s so easy to get into debt.

▷ the thing is /ðə ˌθɪŋ ˈɪz/ spoken informal

say this when you are explaining to a friend why you cannot do what they want :

▪ The thing is, I have an important exam next week.

▪ I’d love to come, but the thing is, I promised to see Jim tonight.

14. what you say to ask someone about a problem

▷ what’s wrong/what’s the matter /ˌwɒts ˈrɒŋǁ-ˈrɔːŋ, ˌwɒts ðə ˈmætəʳ/ spoken

say this when you are asking someone what is causing a problem, for example why they are upset, or why a machine will not work :

▪ What’s the matter? You look as if you’ve been crying.

what’s wrong/what’s the matter with

▪ What’s wrong with the TV?

▪ What was the matter with Daniella yesterday?

▷ what’s up /ˌwɒts ˈʌp/ spoken informal

say this when you are asking someone if there is a problem that they want to talk about :

▪ ‘Karen, can I talk to you for a minute?’ ‘Sure, what’s up?’

what’s up with somebody?

say this when someone seems to have a problem

▪ What’s up with Larry today?

▷ what’s the problem /ˌwɒts ðə ˈprɒbləmǁ-ˈprɑː-/ spoken

say this when you are asking why someone cannot do something or why something will not work :

▪ ‘I can’t finish the last question.’ ‘Why? What’s the problem?’

▪ What’s the problem? Is there something I can do?

what’s the problem with

▪ ‘I can’t get my computer to work.’ ‘What’s the problem with it?’

▷ do you have a problem with that? /duː juː hæv ə ˈprɒbləm wɪð ðætǁ-ˈprɑː-/ especially American, spoken

say this to ask someone if they are unhappy about something you just said or suggested - use this when you are annoyed and want to be slightly rude :

▪ ‘Is he going to sleep in your room?’ ‘I think so. Do you have a problem with that?’

▪ ‘Are you all by yourself?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ And I wanted to say ‘you got a problem with that?’

Longman Activator English vocab.      Английский словарь Longman активатор .