110+ Synonyms for “Difficult” with Examples | Another Word for “Difficult”

Last Updated on December 4, 2023

If you’re looking for synonyms of “difficult” in English, you’re in luck. There are plenty of words that can be used to convey a similar meaning, depending on the context in which they are used. Whether you’re writing a paper, giving a speech, or just trying to expand your vocabulary, it’s always helpful to have a variety of options at your disposal.

Difficult Synonyms

Another Word for Difficult | List of 110+ Synonyms for "Difficult"Pin

Difficult Meaning

Difficult is an adjective used to describe something that requires a lot of effort, skill, or intelligence to do or understand. It can also refer to something that is not easy to deal with, understand, or solve.

Examples:

  • She found the math problem difficult to solve, but she persevered and eventually figured it out.
  • The hike up the mountain was difficult, but the breathtaking view from the top made it worthwhile.
  • He faced a difficult decision and spent a long time weighing the pros and cons.
  • The test was more difficult than she had anticipated, but she studied diligently and performed well.

List of Synonyms for Difficult

  • Abstract
  • Abstruse
  • Ambiguous
  • Ambitious
  • Arduous
  • Awkward
  • Backbreaking
  • Baffling
  • Burdensome
  • Byzantine
  • Challenging
  • Complex
  • Complicated
  • Composite
  • Confusing
  • Convoluted
  • Critical
  • Cruel
  • Daedal
  • Daunting
  • Delicate
  • Demanding
  • Dire
  • Distressing
  • Disturbing
  • Easy
  • Elaborate
  • Elusive
  • Esoteric
  • Exacting
  • Exhausting
  • Fastidious
  • Finicky
  • Formidable
  • Fussy
  • Gordian
  • Grave
  • Grievous
  • Grinding
  • Grueling
  • Grungy
  • Hairy
  • Hard
  • Hard to understand
  • Harder
  • Hardest
  • Hard-nosed
  • Harsh
  • Heavy
  • Hefty
  • Hurt
  • Impossible
  • Inextricable
  • Inflexible
  • Intractable
  • Intricate
  • Involved
  • Knotted
  • Knotty
  • Laborious
  • Labyrinthine
  • Nasty
  • Not easy
  • Obscure
  • Obstinate
  • Onerous
  • Operose
  • Oppressive
  • Painful
  • Particular
  • Perplexed
  • Perplexing
  • Precarious
  • Prickly
  • Problem
  • Problematic
  • Problematical
  • Profound
  • Punishing
  • Rigid
  • Rocky
  • Rough
  • Rude
  • Rugged
  • Sad
  • Sensitive
  • Serious
  • Severe
  • Sophisticated
  • Sore
  • Sticky
  • Stiff
  • Strenuous
  • Stressful
  • Stubborn
  • Taxing
  • Tearful
  • Thorny
  • Ticklish
  • Tight
  • Toilful
  • Toilsome
  • Tortuous
  • Tough
  • Tricky
  • Troubled
  • Troublesome
  • Trying
  • Unbearable
  • Unmanageable
  • Unpleasant
  • Uphill
  • Weighty

Types of Synonyms for Difficult

Physical or mental effort

  • Challenging
  • Tough
  • Hard
  • Rigorous
  • Demanding
  • Effortful
  • Arduous
  • Rugged
  • Severe
  • Backbreaking
  • Gargantuan
  • Herculean

Complexity

  • Complicated
  • Intricate
  • Burdensome

Unpleasantness

  • Rough
  • Troublesome
  • No picnic

Common Synonyms for Difficult 

Difficult vs. Hard

“Difficult” is used to describe something that requires mental effort or presents a challenge, while “hard” is used to describe something that is physically tough or resistant.

  • The puzzle was difficult to solve, requiring a lot of mental effort and problem-solving skills.
  • The rock was so dense and solid that it was hard to break with just a hammer and chisel.

Difficult vs. Tricky

“Difficult” is used to describe something that presents a challenge or requires effort, while “tricky” is used to describe something that is deceptively or subtly difficult to solve or understand.

  • The math problem was difficult to solve, requiring a deep understanding of the concepts involved.
  • The maze was not particularly difficult, but it was certainly tricky with its numerous dead ends and false paths.

Difficult vs. Complicated

When something is difficult, it means that it is not easy to do, understand, or solve. When something is complicated, it means that it is made up of many interconnected parts and is difficult to understand.

  • The advanced level of the game was difficult to master, requiring strategic thinking and quick reflexes.
  • The instructions for assembling the furniture were complicated due to the numerous intricate parts and steps involved.

Difficult vs. Complex

When something is difficult, it means that it is not easy to do, understand, or solve. When something is complex, it means that it has many interconnected parts and is difficult to understand. 

  • Running a marathon is difficult due to the physical and mental endurance it demands.
  • Designing a new computer operating system is a complex task that involves intricate coding and integration of various software components.

Synonyms for Difficult in Different Contexts

In Everyday Context

  • Challenging: The math problem was challenging, but you were able to solve it with some extra effort.
  • Hard: Running a marathon is hard, but with proper training and preparation, it can be accomplished.
  • Tough: The job interview was tough, but you were able to impress the hiring manager with your skills and experience.
  • Demanding: Learning a new language can be demanding, but with dedication and practice, you can become fluent.

In Academic Context

  • Challenging: The research project presented a challenging task for the students.
  • Complex: The complex problem required a rigorous analytical approach.
  • Demanding: The demanding course load made it difficult for the student to balance work and school.
  • Arduous: The arduous process of data collection required a lot of time and effort.
  • Formidable: The formidable task of writing a thesis was daunting for the student.
  • Rigorous: The rigorous academic standards of the program ensured that only the most dedicated students would succeed.

In Professional Context

  • Arduous: The task was arduous, but we were able to accomplish it by working together as a team.
  • Laborious: The process of hiring new employees can be laborious, but it is important to find the right people for the job.
  • Complex: The new software system is complex, but once you learn how to use it, you’ll be able to work more efficiently.
  • Cumbersome: The new regulations are cumbersome, but we need to ensure that we are in compliance with them.

In Informal Context

  • Tricky: That crossword puzzle was really tricky, I couldn’t figure out the last clue.
  • Tough: This math problem is tough, I might need some help with it.
  • Challenging: Running a marathon is challenging, but it’s also very rewarding.
  • Hard: Learning a new language is hard, but it’s worth the effort.
  • Sticky: Removing this stain is proving to be quite sticky, I might need to try a different cleaner.
  • Puzzling: Solving this riddle is puzzling me, I can’t seem to find the answer.

Absolute and Near Synonyms for Difficult 

Absolute Synonyms for Difficult

Word Meaning
Challenging Testing one’s abilities, skills, or resources
Hard Requiring much effort or endurance
Tough Requiring great effort or endurance to accomplish or overcome

Near Synonyms for Difficult

Word Meaning
Complicated Involving many complex and interrelated parts
Tricky Difficult to deal with or handle because of complexity or trickiness
Tough Requiring great effort or endurance to accomplish or overcome
Demanding Requiring much effort or skill
Painful Causing physical or emotional pain or discomfort
Strenuous Requiring great effort or energy to accomplish or overcome

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some synonyms for ‘difficult’ in English?

There are many synonyms for ‘difficult’ in English. Some of the most common ones include challenging, hard, tough, demanding, arduous, and rigorous. These words can be used interchangeably depending on the context and the level of difficulty.

What is a better way to say ‘more difficult’?

Instead of using ‘more difficult’, you can use words like harder, tougher, or more challenging. These words convey a higher level of difficulty and can be used to describe tasks or situations that require more effort and perseverance.

What is the synonym for ‘tough’?

The synonym for ‘tough’ is ‘hard’. These words can be used interchangeably depending on the context and the level of difficulty. Other synonyms for ‘tough’ include difficult, challenging, and demanding.

What are some phrases to use for difficult situations?

Some phrases to use for difficult situations include ‘uphill battle’, ‘tough nut to crack’, ‘rough road ahead’, ‘stormy waters’, and ‘bumpy ride’. These phrases convey the idea that the situation is challenging and requires a lot of effort and perseverance to overcome.

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