Etymology
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difficulty (n.)
Origin and meaning of difficulty

late 14c., "want of easiness, that quality which makes something laborious or perplexing," from Anglo-French difficulté and directly from Latin difficultatem (nominative difficultas) "difficulty, distress, poverty," from difficilis "hard," from dis- "not, away from" (see dis-) + facilis "easy to do," from facere "to do" (from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put"). From 1610s as "that which is difficult." Related: Difficulties.

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difficult (adj.)
Origin and meaning of difficult

c. 1400, "not easy, requiring or dependent on effort; troublesome, arduous," apparently an unetymological back-formation from difficulty. French has difficile, Latin difficilis. Of persons, "hard to please," from 1580s. Related: Difficultly.

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*dhe- 

*dhē-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to set, put."

It forms all or part of: abdomen; abscond; affair; affect (v.1) "make a mental impression on;" affect (v.2) "make a pretense of;" affection; amplify; anathema; antithesis; apothecary; artifact; artifice; beatific; benefice; beneficence; beneficial; benefit; bibliothec; bodega; boutique; certify; chafe; chauffeur; comfit; condiment; confection; confetti; counterfeit; deed; deem; deface; defeasance; defeat; defect; deficient; difficulty; dignify; discomfit; do (v.); doom; -dom; duma; edifice; edify; efface; effect; efficacious; efficient; epithet; facade; face; facet; facial; -facient; facile; facilitate; facsimile; fact; faction (n.1) "political party;" -faction; factitious; factitive; factor; factory; factotum; faculty; fashion; feasible; feat; feature; feckless; fetish; -fic; fordo; forfeit; -fy; gratify; hacienda; hypothecate; hypothesis; incondite; indeed; infect; justify; malefactor; malfeasance; manufacture; metathesis; misfeasance; modify; mollify; multifarious; notify; nullify; office; officinal; omnifarious; orifice; parenthesis; perfect; petrify; pluperfect; pontifex; prefect; prima facie; proficient; profit; prosthesis; prothesis; purdah; putrefy; qualify; rarefy; recondite; rectify; refectory; sacrifice; salmagundi; samadhi; satisfy; sconce; suffice; sufficient; surface; surfeit; synthesis; tay; ticking (n.); theco-; thematic; theme; thesis; verify.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit dadhati "puts, places;" Avestan dadaiti "he puts;" Old Persian ada "he made;" Hittite dai- "to place;" Greek tithenai "to put, set, place;" Latin facere "to make, do; perform; bring about;" Lithuanian dėti "to put;" Polish dziać się "to be happening;" Russian delat' "to do;" Old High German tuon, German tun, Old English don "to do."

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cumbrance (n.)

c. 1300, "destructive influence;" late 14c., "trouble, difficulty," from cumber + -ance.

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panting (n.)

"gasping, a difficulty in breathing," mid-15c., noun of action from pant (v.).

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laboriously (adv.)
early 15c., "slowly and with difficulty," from laborious + -ly (2). Meaning "earnestly, strongly" is from c. 1500.
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hardness (n.)
Old English heardnes; see hard (adj.) + -ness. Meaning "difficulty of action or accomplishment" is late 14c.
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conveniently (adv.)

late 14c., "fittingly, properly, rightly," from convenient + -ly (2). Meaning "in a way that avoids difficulty" is from c. 1500.

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sigmatism (n.)
1888, "difficulty in pronouncing 'S,'" from combining form of sigma + -ism. As "use or recurrence of 'S'" from 1889.
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hack (v.3)
"to cough with a short, dry cough," 1802, perhaps from hack (v.1) on the notion of being done with difficulty, or else imitative.
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