Something problematic poses a problem or causes difficulties. Your ambitions to become the next great leader of Spain are great, but your inability to speak Spanish might prove problematic.

Around 1600, the word problematical was shortened and problematic was born. Perhaps they wanted to make it less problematic for spellers. It's an adjective that means tough, hard to solve, or even questionable. A flat tire in the middle of the desert would certainly be problematic, as would a star witness with a history of telling lies.

Definitions of problematic
  1. adjective
    making great mental demands; hard to comprehend or solve or believe
    “a problematic situation at home”
    synonyms: baffling, elusive, knotty, problematical, tough
    difficult, hard
    not easy; requiring great physical or mental effort to accomplish or comprehend or endure
  2. adjective
    open to doubt or debate
    “If you ever get married, which seems to be extremely problematic
    synonyms: debatable, problematical
    subject to question
Word Family

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