1 PROBLEMS (C, U) problems that make something difficult, spoil your plans, make you worry etc: Every time there's trouble, I have to go along and sort it out.(+ with): They're having a lot of trouble with the new baby. | trouble doing sth: I never have any trouble getting to sleep. | what's the trouble? spoken (=used to ask someone what is causing a particular problem) | the trouble is spoken (=used when explaining why something is impossible or difficult): I'd like to give you the money now - the trouble is, I don't get paid till Friday. | sb's troubles (=all the problems that you have in your life): Because I'm a good listener people often come to me with their troubles. | teething troubles (=small problems at the beginning): After a few teething troubles, the new system worked perfectly.2 FAULT the trouble with spoken used when explaining what is unsatisfactory about something or someone: The trouble with you is that you don't listen. | That's the trouble with lasagne - it takes so long to make.3 HEALTH (U) a problem that you have with your health(+ with): He sometimes has trouble with his breathing. | heart/stomach/skin etc trouble: Irene's at home today with stomach trouble.4 MACHINE/SYSTEM (U) something that is wrong with a machine, vehicle, or system: engine trouble(+ with): trouble with the central heating system5 BAD SITUATION (U) a difficult or dangerous situation: be in trouble: an SOS from a ship in trouble | get/run into trouble: The company ran into trouble when it tried to expand too quickly. | in serious/deep/big trouble: If you connect the wrong wires to the power supply, you'll be in deep trouble.6 be asking for trouble informal to take risks or do something stupid that is likely to cause problems: You're just asking for trouble if you don't get those brakes fixed.7 EFFORT (U) an amount of effort and time that is needed to do something, especially when it is inconvenient for you to do it: put sb to a lot of trouble (=make someone use a lot of time and effort): I'm sorry, I didn't mean to put you to so much trouble. | take the trouble to do sth (=make a special effort to do something): The teacher took the trouble to learn all our names on the first day. | go to/take a lot of trouble (=use a lot of time and effort doing something carefully) | save sb the trouble (of doing sth) (=make it unnecessary for sb to do sth): I thought if I phoned you, it would save you the trouble of writing a letter. | be more trouble than it's worth spoken (=when something takes too much time and effort to do): I find that making my own clothes is more trouble than it's worth.8 no trouble/it's no trouble spoken used to say that you are very willing to do something because it is not inconvenient for you9 be no trouble informal if someone is no trouble, they do not annoy or worry you: You can leave the children with me. They're no trouble.10 ARGUMENT/VIOLENCE also troubles (plural) a situation in which people quarrel or fight with each other: The trouble started when the police tried to break up the demonstration. | the recent troubles in Northern Ireland | cause/make trouble (=deliberately cause trouble): Don't give him another drink or he'll start causing trouble.11 BLAME (U) a situation in which someone in authority is angry with you or is likely to punish you: There'll be trouble when your father finds out what you've done. | be in trouble (with): My brother's in trouble with the police again. | get into trouble: Don't copy my work or we'll both get into trouble.12 get sb into troublea) to put someone into a situation in which they are likely to be punished: Diane told a lie rather than get her friend into trouble.b) old-fashioned to make a woman pregnantUSAGE NOTE: TROUBLEWORD CHOICE: trouble (n,v), problem, troubles, troubled, worried, bother Trouble (usually U) is usually used to talk about the worry etc that people have in some situations (especially when there is some specific difficulty): Her back is giving her a lot of trouble (=pain).Do you have much trouble with the kids? (=do they behave badly?)Thanks for your trouble (=effort).When you speak of a problem (C), you are thinking more of a person, thing, or situation that is difficult (either for things or people):Acid rain is an increasing environmental problem.my biggest problem (NOT my best trouble)In many situations a problem is a source of trouble, so there are some contexts where both words may be used: What's the trouble/problem?I had a bit of trouble/a bit of a problem | the trouble/problem with my car.However sometimes there is a clear difference in meaning:There's trouble in the bar (perhaps means people are fighting). But There's a problem in the bar (perhaps means there is no beer left).In some contexts only problem can be used. You can solve problems but not trouble(s). Something may pose a problem but not trouble.In spoken English trouble is frequent only in certain phrases:The (only) trouble is/was...This/that is/was the trouble.....Just don't cause any trouble ......have (no) trouble with...be in (real/a lot of) trouble...get into trouble...Problem is more common in technical or formal contexts, trouble in informal or conversational ones:the nuclear problemthe problem with BCCI is more common.But you are more likely to say: tummy troubleThe trouble with Paul is that he has no sense of humour.Troubles (plural) is used with a much more specific meaning either for all the things that worry a person, or all the difficulties of an organization or country:money troublesthe troubles besetting the governmentthe troubles in Northern Ireland.But you would say:world/traffic problems (NOT troubles) Trouble (v) and troubled (adj) are not very common in ordinary spoken English:I was worried about my work (in writing you might perhaps use troubled).Don't bother me while I'm watching TV.My car had a problem (NOT was troubled.)GRAMMAR: Usually someone has trouble (NOT troubles) doing something (NOT has trouble to do it). You may be in trouble (NOT in a trouble/troubles). 2 verb1 (T) if a problem troubles you, it makes you feel worried: You must talk to your daughter and find out what's troubling her.2 (T) formal to ask someone to do something for you when it is inconvenient for them: I promise not to trouble you again.3 may I trouble you?/sorry to trouble you spoken formal used when politely asking someone to do something for you or give you something: Sorry to trouble you, but could you tell me the way to the station, please. | May I trouble you for the salt? | Can I trouble you to close the door.4 not trouble to do sth to not do something because it needs too much effort: They never troubled to ask me what I would like.5 (T) if a medical problem troubles you, it causes you pain or makes you suffer: Roy has been troubled by a stomach ulcer for months.
Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.