Reference > Roget’s > International Thesaurus > 704. Difficulty.
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Mawson, C.O.S., ed. (1870–1938). Roget’s International Thesaurus. 1922.
 
Class V. Words Releasing to the Voluntary Powers
Division (I) Individual Volition
Section IV. Antagonism
1. Conditional Antagonism
 
704. Difficulty.
 
  
NOUN:DIFFICULTY; hardness &c. adj.; impracticability (impossibility) [See Impossibility]; tough -, hard -, uphill- work; hard -, Herculean -, Augean- task; task of Sisyphus, Sisyphean labor, tough job [colloq.], tough proposition [colloq.], teaser [colloq.], rasper [slang], dead weight, dead lift.
  DILEMMA, embarrassment; deadlock; perplexity (uncertainty) [See Uncertainty]; intricacy; entanglement [See Disorder]; cross fire; awkwardness, delicacy; delicate ground, thin ice, ticklish card to play, knot, Gordian knot, dignus vindice nodus [L.], net, meshes, maze; coil (convolution) [See Convolution]; crooked path; involvement; hard road to travel.
  VEXED QUESTION, vexata quæstio [L.], poser; puzzle (riddle) [See Secret]; nice -, delicate -, subtle -, knotty- point; paradox; hard -, nut to crack; bone to pick, crux, pons asinorum [L.], where the shoe pinches.
  QUANDARY, nonplus, strait, pass, pinch, rub, pretty pass, stress, brunt; critical situation, crisis; trial, emergency, exigency, scramble.
  scrape, hobble, slough, quagmire, hot water [colloq.], hornet’s nest; sea -, peck- of troubles; pretty kettle of fish [colloq.]; pickle, stew, imbroglio, mess, muddle, botch, fuss, bustle, ado; false position; stand; deadlock, dead set; fix, horns of a dilemma, cul de sac [F.], blind alley; hitch; stumblingblock (hindrance) [See Hindrance].
  
VERB:BE DIFFICULT &c. adj.; run one hard, go against the grain, try one’s patience, put one out; put to one’s -shifts, - wit’s end; go hard with one, try one; pose, perplex (uncertain) [See Uncertainty]; pother, bother, nonplus, gravel [colloq.], bring to a deadlock; be impossible [See Impossibility]; be in the way of (hinder) [See Hindrance].
  BE IN DIFFICULTY &c. n.; meet with -, labor under -, get into -, plunge into -, struggle with -, contend with -, grapple with- difficulties; labor under a disadvantage; fish in troubled waters, buffet the waves; swim against the -current, - stream; scud under bare poles; have much ado with, have a hard time of it; come to the -push, - pinch; bear the brunt; grope in the dark, lose one’s way, weave a tangled web, walk on egg-shells, walk among eggs.
  get into a scrape &c. n.; bring a hornet’s nest about one’s ears; be put to one’s shifts; flounder, boggle [local, U. S.], struggle; not know which way to turn (uncertain) [See Uncertainty]; perdre son Latin [F.]; stick -at, - in the mud, - fast; come to a -stand, - deadlock; get all -balled up [slang], - snarled up, - tangled up, - wound up; hold the wolf by the ears.
  RENDER DIFFICULT &c. adj.; enmesh, encumber, embarrass, ravel, entangle; put a spoke in the wheel (hinder) [See Hindrance]; spike one’s guns; lead a wild-goose chase, lead a pretty dance.
  
ADJECTIVE:DIFFICULT, not easy, hard, tough [colloq.]; troublesome, toilsome, irksome; operose, laborious, onerous, arduous, Herculean, formidable; sooner -, more easily- said than done; difficult -, hard- to deal with; ill-conditioned, crabbed; not to be handled with kid gloves, not made with rose water.
  AWKWARD, unwieldy, unmanageable; intractable, stubborn (obstinate) [See Obstinacy]; perverse, refractory, plaguy [colloq.], trying, thorny, rugged; knotted, knotty; invious [obs.]; pathless, trackless; labyrinthine (convoluted) [See Convolution]; intricate, complicated (tangled) [See Disorder]; impracticable (impossible) [See Impossibility]; not feasible [See Possibility]; desperate (hopeless) [See Hopelessness].
  EMBARRASSING, perplexing (uncertain) [See Uncertainty]; delicate, ticklish, critical, uncertain, thorny, set with thorns; beset with -, full of -, surrounded by -, entangled by -, encompassed with- difficulties.
  UNDER A DIFFICULTY; in a box; in difficulty, in hot water [colloq.], in the suds [colloq.], in the soup [slang], in a cleft stick, in a fix [colloq.], in the wrong box, in a scrape &c. n., in deep water, in a fine pickle [colloq.], in extremis [L.]; between -two stools, - Scylla and Charybdis; on the horns of a dilemma; on the rocks; surrounded by -shoals, - breakers, - quicksands; at cross-purposes; not out of the wood.
  reduced to straits; hard -, sorely- pressed; run hard; pinched, put to it, straitened; hard up [slang]; hard put to it, hard set [both colloq.]; put to one’s shifts; puzzled, at a loss, (uncertain) [See Uncertainty]; at the end of one’s tether, at one’s wits’ end, at a nonplus, at a standstill; graveled, nonplused or nonplussed, stranded, aground; stuck -, set- fast; out, put out, out in one’s reckoning; up a tree, at bay, aux abois [F.], driven -into a corner, - from post to pillar, - to extremity, - to one’s wit’s end, - to the wall; au bout de son Latin [F.]; out of one’s depth; thrown out.
  ACCOMPLISHED WITH DIFFICULTY; hard-fought, hard-earned.
  
ADVERB:WITH DIFFICULTY, with much ado; hardly &c. adj.; uphill; upstream; against the -stream, - grain; à rebours [F.]; invitâ Minervâ [L.]; in the teeth of; at a pinch, upon a pinch; at long odds.
  
QUOTATIONS:
  1. Ay, there’s the rub.—Hamlet
  2. Hic labor hoc opus.—Vergil
  3. Things are come to a pretty pass.
  4. Ab inconvenienti.
  5. Ad astra per aspera.
  6. Aucun chemin de fleurs ne conduit à la gloire.

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