Additional meanings removed
More recent meanings (not in 1973 American Heritage dictionary, for example):
- A piece of trouble, a worry, as in "he has financial problems"
- Something not good: "My car has a couple of problems."
- The cause of some malfunction: "I found the problem."
- An inability to accept something: "Do you have a problem with me doing that?"
Note that all of these are sense (1), a difficulty. You can see this by substituting the word in the examples given:
- A piece of trouble, a worry, as in "he has financial difficulties"
- Something not good: "My car has a couple of difficulties."
- The cause of some malfunction: "I found the difficulty."
- An inability to accept something: "Do you have any difficulty with me doing that?"
The word "problem" is more commonly used in each case, but they are all the same sense. Robert Ullmann 17:16, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
- Sorry, I don't agree. If I say "my car has a couple of difficulties" it sounds like it has difficulty going uphill and it has difficulty crossing lakes. If I am debugging a computer program and I say, "I found the difficulty", it means that I now understand why people say debugging a program is difficult. One might, I admit, say "I have a difficulty with you doing that" in the meaning of "I cannot accept you doing that", but more literally it means, "if you do that, it will make things more difficult for me". In short, the new meanings I listed are not well described by the word "difficulty". I personally do not like the use of the word "problem" for these new meanings, but it's hard to find another way to say it. There's the rub! Eric Kvaalen 07:29, 24 March 2008 (UTC)
The antonym of 'problem' which is currently there is 'solution', which doesn't seem like an antonym to me. Is there actually a proper antonym, i.e., an English noun indicating 'something which is helpful', as opposed to 'something which is blocking or makes things more difficult'? Marnix.klooster 15:06, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
- Dubious, depends on how you define problem. But I too struggle to see a context where solution would be a direct antonym to problem. It's more accurate to say that solution and problem complement each other. Mglovesfun (talk) 15:09, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
- When you have a 'problem', you look for a 'solution' to it, which is what undoes the problem. The 'solution' cancels out the 'problem': so why would it not be an antonym? —AugPi (t) 15:11, 23 August 2011 (UTC)