Top 85 Slang For Complication – Meaning & Usage

Life can get pretty complicated, but navigating through the maze of confusing situations can be made easier with the right words. In this listicle, we uncover the top slang terms that perfectly capture those moments of complexity and confusion. From everyday mishaps to unexpected twists, our team has curated a collection of expressions that will have you nodding in agreement and maybe even laughing at the chaos of it all. So buckle up and get ready to dive into the world of slang for complication!

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1. Snafu

This term originated in the military and stands for “Situation Normal: All F***ed Up.” It is used to describe a chaotic or confused situation.

  • For example, “The project turned into a snafu when the team missed the deadline.”
  • A person might say, “I had a snafu with my flight and ended up missing my connecting flight.”
  • Another might comment, “The party was a snafu from start to finish with the wrong music and no food.”

2. Clusterf***

This term is a vulgar slang that refers to a situation that is completely chaotic, disorganized, or unsuccessful.

  • For instance, “The event was a total clusterf*** with long lines and no organization.”
  • In a discussion about a failed project, someone might say, “It was a clusterf*** from the beginning, with constant miscommunication and missed deadlines.”
  • A person might comment, “The traffic was a clusterf*** this morning with multiple accidents causing major delays.”

3. Can of worms

This phrase is used to describe a situation or problem that is complex, difficult, or likely to cause trouble if addressed.

  • For example, “Opening up the topic of politics at a family gathering is like opening a can of worms.”
  • In a discussion about a controversial issue, someone might say, “Addressing this problem is like opening a can of worms – it’s going to be messy.”
  • A person might comment, “I didn’t realize the can of worms I was opening when I asked about everyone’s opinions on the new policy.”

4. Hot mess

This slang term is used to describe a situation or person that is extremely disorganized, chaotic, or out of control.

  • For instance, “Her room is a hot mess with clothes everywhere and no organization.”
  • In a discussion about a failed party, someone might say, “The event was a hot mess – the decorations were falling apart, the food was cold, and the entertainment didn’t show up.”
  • A person might comment, “My schedule is a hot mess right now with overlapping appointments and deadlines.”

5. Trainwreck

This term is used to describe a situation or event that is a complete disaster or catastrophe.

  • For example, “The project turned into a trainwreck with constant delays and miscommunication.”
  • In a discussion about a failed relationship, someone might say, “Their marriage was a trainwreck from the start – constant arguments and no trust.”
  • A person might comment, “The party was a trainwreck with fights breaking out and the police being called.”

6. Fiasco

This word is used to describe a complete failure or disaster, often resulting from poor planning or execution. It implies a situation that has gone completely wrong and is often accompanied by chaos or confusion.

  • For example, “The party turned into a fiasco when the DJ didn’t show up.”
  • A person might say, “The team’s performance in the game was a total fiasco.”
  • Another might comment, “The company’s product launch was a fiasco due to multiple technical issues.”

7. Nightmare

This term is used to describe a situation or experience that is extremely unpleasant, difficult, or terrifying. It suggests a sense of fear, dread, or unease.

  • For instance, “Dealing with a difficult boss can be a nightmare.”
  • A person might say, “The traffic during rush hour is always a nightmare.”
  • Another might comment, “Trying to fix a broken computer can be a real nightmare.”

8. Quagmire

This word refers to a difficult or complicated situation that is challenging to escape or resolve. It often implies a sense of being trapped or stuck in a messy or complicated situation.

  • For example, “The company found itself in a quagmire of legal issues.”
  • A person might say, “Getting involved in their family drama was a quagmire I should have avoided.”
  • Another might comment, “Trying to navigate through bureaucratic red tape can feel like being in a quagmire.”

9. Catch-22

This term originated from the novel “Catch-22” by Joseph Heller and refers to a situation where a person is trapped by contradictory rules or conditions. It describes a dilemma where there is no easy or satisfactory solution.

  • For instance, “I need experience to get a job, but I can’t get experience without a job. It’s a catch-22.”
  • A person might say, “The catch-22 of student loans is that you need a college degree for a good job, but you need a good job to pay off your student loans.”
  • Another might comment, “Trying to save money while paying off debt is a catch-22.”

10. Gordian knot

This term refers to an extremely difficult or complex problem that seems impossible to solve. It originates from the legend of Alexander the Great, who supposedly solved the puzzle of the Gordian knot by cutting it with his sword.

  • For example, “Untangling the bureaucracy of government regulations can feel like trying to unravel a Gordian knot.”
  • A person might say, “The conflict between the two countries is a Gordian knot that seems impossible to untangle.”
  • Another might comment, “Finding a solution to poverty is a Gordian knot that requires multi-faceted approaches.”

11. Conundrum

A difficult or confusing problem or situation that is challenging to solve or understand. “Conundrum” is often used to describe a situation with no clear or easy solution.

  • For example, “I’m facing a conundrum: should I take the job offer or stay at my current job?”
  • In a discussion about ethical dilemmas, someone might say, “The trolley problem is a classic conundrum in philosophy.”
  • A person might express frustration with a complex issue by saying, “I’m stuck in a conundrum and don’t know what to do.”

12. Predicament

A difficult or challenging situation that is hard to escape from or resolve. “Predicament” often implies being trapped or stuck in a troublesome circumstance.

  • For instance, “I found myself in a predicament when my car broke down in the middle of nowhere.”
  • In a conversation about moral choices, someone might say, “I’m in a predicament because both options have negative consequences.”
  • A person might describe a complicated situation by saying, “I’m in a bit of a predicament with my finances right now.”

13. Sticky wicket

A challenging or tricky situation that is hard to navigate or resolve. “Sticky wicket” is a colloquial term often used in British English to describe a complicated or problematic circumstance.

  • For example, “The negotiations with the other company have become a bit of a sticky wicket.”
  • In a discussion about a challenging project, someone might say, “We’re in a sticky wicket with this deadline approaching.”
  • A person might express frustration with a complex problem by saying, “I’m stuck on a sticky wicket and don’t know how to proceed.”

14. Hurdle

A difficulty or obstacle that needs to be overcome in order to achieve a goal or complete a task. “Hurdle” often refers to a specific challenge that must be cleared or surpassed.

  • For instance, “I faced several hurdles while starting my own business.”
  • In a conversation about personal growth, someone might say, “Overcoming my fear of public speaking was a major hurdle.”
  • A person might describe a complicated process by saying, “There are many hurdles to navigate when buying a house.”

15. Hitch

A minor or temporary difficulty or problem that causes a brief interruption or delay. “Hitch” often implies a small setback or hiccup in an otherwise smooth process.

  • For example, “We had a hitch in our plans when the flight got delayed.”
  • In a discussion about event planning, someone might say, “Despite a few hitches, the party was a success.”
  • A person might describe a complicated situation by saying, “There’s a hitch in the system that is causing errors.”

16. Snag

A snag refers to a small problem or complication that arises and causes a delay or obstacle in a process or plan.

  • For example, “We hit a snag in the project when the supplier ran out of materials.”
  • In a conversation about travel, someone might say, “I had a snag with my flight and ended up getting stuck at the airport.”
  • A person discussing a difficult situation might say, “I ran into a snag with my car when it wouldn’t start this morning.”

17. Dilemma

A dilemma refers to a situation where a person is faced with two or more equally difficult choices or options, making it challenging to decide what to do.

  • For instance, “I’m in a dilemma because I have to choose between attending my best friend’s wedding or an important work conference.”
  • In a discussion about ethics, someone might say, “I faced a moral dilemma when I found a lost wallet with a large sum of money.”
  • A person seeking advice might ask, “I’m in a dilemma about whether to quit my job or stay for the potential promotion. What should I do?”

18. Impasse

An impasse refers to a situation where progress or resolution is blocked or halted because of a disagreement or lack of consensus between two or more parties.

  • For example, “The negotiations reached an impasse when both sides refused to compromise.”
  • In a discussion about politics, someone might say, “The government is currently at an impasse, unable to pass any legislation.”
  • A person talking about a difficult situation might say, “My relationship with my partner has reached an impasse, and we’re not sure how to move forward.”

19. Tangle

A tangle refers to a complex or confusing situation that is difficult to untangle or resolve.

  • For instance, “I found myself in a tangle of emotions after the breakup.”
  • In a conversation about work, someone might say, “I’m in a tangle with my colleagues over conflicting priorities.”
  • A person discussing a difficult problem might say, “I got myself into a tangle with my finances after overspending.”

20. Muddle

To muddle means to make a situation or information unclear or confusing, resulting in a complicated or disorganized state.

  • For example, “The instructions were muddled, and I couldn’t figure out how to assemble the furniture.”
  • In a discussion about a complicated issue, someone might say, “The data is muddled, making it difficult to draw any clear conclusions.”
  • A person talking about a difficult conversation might say, “The discussion became muddled when multiple people started talking at once.”

21. Pickle

This term is used to describe a difficult or complicated situation that someone finds themselves in. It can also refer to a state of confusion or uncertainty.

  • For example, “I’m in a real pickle now. I accidentally deleted all my important files.”
  • Someone might say, “He got himself into a pickle by lying to his boss about finishing the project.”
  • In a humorous context, a person might exclaim, “Well, aren’t you in a pickle!” when someone spills a drink on themselves.
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22. Jam

“Jam” is a slang term used to describe a difficult or challenging situation that someone is in. It can also refer to a state of being stuck or trapped.

  • For instance, “I’m in a jam. I locked my keys in the car and I’m already late for work.”
  • A person might say, “I got myself into a jam by overspending and now I can’t pay my bills.”
  • In a casual conversation, someone might ask, “How did you get in this jam?” when they see someone struggling with a task.

23. Stew

This term is used to describe a complicated or difficult situation that someone is dealing with. It can also refer to a state of confusion or disarray.

  • For example, “I’m in a real stew right now. I have three deadlines to meet and not enough time.”
  • A person might say, “She got herself into a stew by trying to juggle too many responsibilities.”
  • In a lighthearted conversation, someone might exclaim, “What a stew!” when they hear about a person’s chaotic day.

24. Mix-up

A “mix-up” refers to a situation where there is confusion or a mistake has occurred. It can also refer to a state of disorder or disorganization.

  • For instance, “There was a mix-up with my flight reservation and now I don’t have a seat.”
  • Someone might say, “She caused a mix-up by sending the wrong email to the client.”
  • In a casual conversation, a person might ask, “What’s the mix-up?” when they hear about a misunderstanding between two friends.

25. Trouble

The term “trouble” is used to describe a problem or difficulty that someone is facing. It can also refer to a state of distress or turmoil.

  • For example, “I’m in big trouble. I forgot to submit my assignment on time.”
  • A person might say, “He always finds himself in trouble because he doesn’t think before acting.”
  • In a casual conversation, someone might ask, “What kind of trouble are you in?” when they see someone looking upset or stressed.

26. Bind

A bind refers to a difficult or challenging situation that is hard to resolve. It can also imply being trapped or restricted in some way.

  • For example, “I’m in a bind because I have two conflicting appointments at the same time.”
  • In a conversation about work, someone might say, “My boss put me in a bind by giving me an impossible deadline.”
  • A person discussing personal finances might say, “I got myself into a bind with all these credit card debts.”

27. Fix

A fix refers to a difficult or problematic situation that requires a solution or remedy. It can also imply being in trouble or facing a difficult challenge.

  • For instance, “I’m in a fix because I accidentally deleted an important file.”
  • In a discussion about relationships, someone might say, “He cheated on me and now I’m in a fix.”
  • A person talking about a work project might say, “We’re in a fix because the client changed the requirements at the last minute.”

28. Plight

A plight refers to a difficult or unfortunate situation that someone is in, often due to circumstances beyond their control. It can also imply a state of distress or hardship.

  • For example, “The refugees are facing a dire plight as they flee their war-torn country.”
  • In a conversation about poverty, someone might say, “Many people in this neighborhood are living in a plight.”
  • A person discussing environmental issues might say, “The plight of endangered species is a global concern.”

29. Mess

A mess refers to a chaotic or disorganized situation that is difficult to manage or clean up. It can also imply a state of confusion or disorder.

  • For instance, “The kitchen is a mess after the dinner party.”
  • In a discussion about a failed project, someone might say, “It turned into a complete mess.”
  • A person talking about their personal life might say, “I need to sort out this mess I’ve gotten myself into.”

30. Disorder

Disorder refers to a state of confusion or disarray, often resulting from a lack of organization or control. It can also imply a disturbance or disruption of normal functioning.

  • For example, “My desk is always in a state of disorder.”
  • In a conversation about mental health, someone might say, “Living with a disorder can be challenging.”
  • A person discussing societal issues might say, “There is a growing disorder in our justice system.”

31. Chaos

Chaos refers to a state of disorder or confusion where everything is in disarray and lacking organization.

  • For example, “The protest turned into chaos as people started throwing objects and shouting.”
  • In a discussion about a messy situation, someone might say, “It’s complete chaos in the office right now.”
  • A person describing a hectic event might say, “The concert was pure chaos with people pushing and shoving to get to the front.”

32. Havoc

Havoc describes a state of widespread destruction or chaos, often resulting from a catastrophic event or uncontrollable circumstances.

  • For instance, “The hurricane wreaked havoc on the coastal town, leaving behind a trail of destruction.”
  • In a conversation about the negative effects of a decision, someone might say, “The new policy has caused havoc among employees.”
  • A person discussing the aftermath of a riot might say, “The city was in complete havoc with buildings set on fire and looting taking place.”

33. Pandemonium

Pandemonium refers to a state of wild and noisy disorder, usually characterized by a loud and chaotic atmosphere.

  • For example, “When the team won the championship, there was pandemonium in the stadium with fans cheering and celebrating.”
  • In a discussion about a crowded event, someone might say, “Getting out of the concert venue was pure pandemonium.”
  • A person describing a chaotic scene might say, “The school cafeteria during lunchtime is absolute pandemonium.”

34. Bedlam

Bedlam is used to describe a state of uproar or confusion, often in a noisy and chaotic manner.

  • For instance, “The announcement of the winner caused bedlam in the auditorium as everyone started cheering and clapping.”
  • In a conversation about a disorganized situation, someone might say, “The office was in complete bedlam after the server crashed.”
  • A person describing a chaotic party might say, “The house was filled with bedlam as people danced, laughed, and played music at full volume.”

35. Turmoil

Turmoil refers to a state of great disturbance or confusion, often associated with a period of intense conflict or uncertainty.

  • For example, “The country was in turmoil following the sudden resignation of the president.”
  • In a discussion about personal struggles, someone might say, “I’ve been going through a lot of turmoil in my life recently.”
  • A person describing a chaotic political situation might say, “The protests and clashes have thrown the country into turmoil.”

36. Ruckus

This word refers to a noisy or chaotic disturbance or uproar. It is often used to describe a situation that is disorderly or full of confusion.

  • For example, “There was a ruckus at the party when the police arrived.”
  • In a discussion about a protest, someone might say, “The protesters caused a ruckus in the streets.”
  • A person might comment, “I heard a ruckus coming from the next room, so I went to investigate.”

37. Kerfuffle

A kerfuffle is a minor disturbance or commotion, often caused by a disagreement or misunderstanding. It is typically used to describe a situation that is chaotic but not too serious.

  • For instance, “There was a kerfuffle over who would get the last piece of cake.”
  • In a discussion about office politics, someone might say, “There’s always a kerfuffle when it comes to assigning tasks.”
  • A person might comment, “We had a kerfuffle with our neighbors over a parking spot.”

38. Hullabaloo

Hullabaloo is a lively and noisy disturbance or uproar. It is often used to describe a situation that is characterized by chaos, confusion, or excitement.

  • For example, “There was a hullabaloo in the stadium after the home team scored a goal.”
  • In a discussion about a controversial decision, someone might say, “The announcement caused a hullabaloo among the fans.”
  • A person might comment, “The children were making a hullabaloo in the backseat during the road trip.”

39. Hubbub

Hubbub refers to a loud and busy situation with many people talking or making noise. It is often used to describe a chaotic or bustling environment.

  • For instance, “The city streets were filled with the hubbub of traffic and pedestrians.”
  • In a discussion about a crowded event, someone might say, “The hubbub at the music festival was overwhelming.”
  • A person might comment, “I couldn’t concentrate on my work because of all the hubbub in the office.”

40. Brouhaha

Brouhaha is a term used to describe a noisy and exaggerated reaction or response to a situation. It often implies that the reaction is excessive or unnecessary.

  • For example, “The minor disagreement turned into a brouhaha with everyone shouting.”
  • In a discussion about a controversial statement, someone might say, “The politician’s comment caused a brouhaha in the media.”
  • A person might comment, “I don’t understand all the brouhaha over a simple mistake.”

41. Melee

A chaotic and violent fight or scuffle involving multiple people. The term “melee” is often used to describe a situation where there is a lack of control or order.

  • For instance, during a protest, a clash between protesters and police might turn into a melee.
  • In a sports game, a fight breaking out on the field could be referred to as a melee.
  • Someone describing a chaotic party might say, “It was a total melee, with people everywhere and things getting out of hand.”

42. Fracas

A noisy and disorderly quarrel or fight. “Fracas” is a word used to describe a situation where there is a lot of commotion and conflict.

  • For example, two people arguing loudly in a public place might cause a fracas.
  • A heated argument between neighbors that attracts attention from others could be called a fracas.
  • Someone describing a chaotic scene might say, “There was a fracas in the street, with people shouting and pushing each other.”

43. Uproar

A state of loud and confused noise or disturbance. “Uproar” is often used to describe a situation where there is a lot of noise and chaos, causing a disruption.

  • For instance, if a controversial decision is made, it might lead to an uproar among the affected individuals.
  • A large crowd protesting and chanting loudly could create an uproar.
  • Someone describing a chaotic event might say, “There was an uproar in the auditorium, with people shouting and booing.”

44. Rumpus

A noisy and disorderly disturbance or commotion. “Rumpus” is a word used to describe a situation where there is a lot of noise and activity, often in a playful or rowdy manner.

  • For example, children playing loudly and energetically in a room might create a rumpus.
  • A group of friends having a wild and boisterous party could be said to be causing a rumpus.
  • Someone describing a lively gathering might say, “It was a rumpus, with music blaring and people dancing everywhere.”

45. Tumult

A state of confusion, disorder, or agitation. “Tumult” is often used to describe a situation where there is a lot of chaos and disturbance, causing a sense of unrest.

  • For instance, if a controversial decision is made, it might lead to a tumult among the affected individuals.
  • A large crowd protesting and marching through the streets could create a tumult.
  • Someone describing a chaotic situation might say, “There was a tumult in the courtroom, with people shouting and arguing.”

46. Clutter

Refers to a collection of things that are scattered or piled up in a disorderly manner.

  • For example, “My room is filled with clutter, I need to clean it up.”
  • A person might say, “I can’t find anything in this clutter, it’s driving me crazy.”
  • When describing a messy desk, someone might comment, “It’s a cluttered mess, I can’t even see the surface.”

47. Disarray

Describes a state of disorder and lack of organization.

  • For instance, “The office was in complete disarray after the power outage.”
  • A person might say, “The party ended in disarray, with broken decorations and spilled drinks.”
  • When discussing a failed project, someone might comment, “The team’s disarray led to missed deadlines and poor communication.”

48. FUBAR

An acronym used to describe a situation or thing that is completely messed up or beyond repair.

  • For example, “The project is FUBAR, there’s no way we can salvage it.”
  • A person might say, “My car broke down in the middle of nowhere, it’s FUBAR.”
  • When describing a disastrous event, someone might comment, “The party was an absolute FUBAR, with fights and property damage.”

49. Pandora’s box

Refers to a situation or action that leads to a series of unforeseen and negative consequences.

  • For instance, “Opening up that investigation was like opening Pandora’s box, now we have even more problems.”
  • A person might say, “Once you start lying, it’s like opening Pandora’s box, you can’t control the consequences.”
  • When discussing a controversial decision, someone might comment, “The government’s new policy is like opening Pandora’s box, it’s going to cause a lot of trouble.”

50. Murphy’s Law

Refers to the belief or observation that if something has the potential to go wrong, it inevitably will.

  • For example, “Of course, Murphy’s Law kicked in and it started raining right after I washed my car.”
  • A person might say, “I always carry an umbrella because I know Murphy’s Law will make it rain when I don’t.”
  • When discussing a series of unfortunate events, someone might comment, “It’s like Murphy’s Law is working against me, everything that can go wrong, does go wrong.”

51. Snarl

This term refers to a complicated or tangled situation, often causing confusion or delay. It can also describe a traffic jam or a disorderly mass of something.

  • For example, “The project hit a snarl when multiple team members quit.”
  • In a discussion about a difficult situation, someone might say, “We’re in a real snarl now, trying to meet this deadline.”
  • A person might describe a traffic jam by saying, “The accident caused a huge snarl on the highway.”

52. Quandary

A state of uncertainty or difficulty in making a decision. It refers to a situation where a person is stuck between two or more options, unsure of which one to choose.

  • For instance, “I’m in a quandary about whether to accept the job offer or stay at my current job.”
  • In a discussion about a moral dilemma, someone might say, “I’m in a quandary because I want to help, but it might go against my principles.”
  • A person might seek advice by saying, “I’m in a quandary and don’t know what to do. Can anyone offer some guidance?”

53. Stalemate

A situation where neither side can make progress or gain an advantage. It often occurs in a conflict or competition when both parties are at a standstill and unable to reach a resolution.

  • For example, “The negotiations reached a stalemate when neither party was willing to compromise.”
  • In a discussion about a game, someone might say, “We played for hours, but it ended in a stalemate.”
  • A person describing a political situation might say, “The two parties are locked in a stalemate, unable to pass any legislation.”

54. Standoff

Similar to a stalemate, a standoff refers to a situation where neither side is willing to back down or make a move. It often involves a confrontation or conflict where both parties are at a deadlock.

  • For instance, “The police and the suspect were in a standoff for hours.”
  • In a discussion about negotiations, someone might say, “We’re at a standoff because neither side is willing to compromise.”
  • A person describing a tense situation might say, “The standoff between the two countries could escalate into a full-blown war.”

55. Debacle

A complete failure or a fiasco. It refers to a situation that has gone terribly wrong or ended in a disastrous outcome.

  • For example, “The company’s new product launch was a debacle, with numerous technical issues.”
  • In a discussion about a failed project, someone might say, “It was a debacle from start to finish.”
  • A person describing a disastrous event might say, “The hurricane caused a debacle, leaving behind a trail of destruction.”

56. Sticking point

A sticking point refers to a specific issue or problem that is causing a delay or hindrance in progress. It is a point of difficulty or contention that needs to be resolved in order to move forward.

  • For example, “The negotiations hit a sticking point when they couldn’t agree on the price.”
  • In a project management discussion, someone might say, “We need to address this sticking point before we can proceed.”
  • A person reflecting on a difficult decision might say, “I reached a sticking point where I had to choose between my career and my personal life.”

57. Catch

In slang, “catch” refers to a complication or problem that arises unexpectedly and causes difficulties or delays. It is often used to describe a situation that is not going as planned or has unexpected obstacles.

  • For instance, “We hit a catch when the supplier suddenly ran out of stock.”
  • In a conversation about travel plans, someone might say, “I hope there are no catches along the way.”
  • A person discussing a challenging project might say, “Every step of the way, there was a catch that we had to overcome.”

58. Hang-up

A hang-up refers to a complication or obstacle that is causing a delay or difficulty in progress. It can also refer to a personal issue or hesitation that is preventing someone from moving forward.

  • For example, “We ran into a hang-up when the equipment malfunctioned.”
  • In a discussion about personal growth, someone might say, “I need to work through my hang-ups in order to reach my full potential.”
  • A person reflecting on a failed relationship might say, “One of our hang-ups was a difference in values.”

59. Hiccup

In slang, a hiccup refers to a small or temporary complication or setback that interrupts the smooth progress of something. It is often used to describe a minor problem or obstacle that is easily overcome.

  • For instance, “We had a hiccup in the production process, but we quickly resolved it.”
  • In a conversation about wedding planning, someone might say, “Don’t worry, every wedding has a few hiccups.”
  • A person reflecting on a challenging task might say, “Despite a few hiccups along the way, we managed to complete the project successfully.”

60. Monkey wrench

A monkey wrench refers to a sudden and significant complication or disruption that throws a situation into chaos or disarray. It is often used to describe a problem or obstacle that is unexpected and causes major difficulties.

  • For example, “The unexpected power outage threw a monkey wrench into our plans.”
  • In a discussion about project management, someone might say, “We need to prepare for potential monkey wrenches that could arise.”
  • A person reflecting on a failed business venture might say, “A series of monkey wrenches derailed our success.”

61. Pitfall

A pitfall refers to a hidden or unexpected difficulty or problem that can arise during a process or situation. It is often used to describe a complication that is not immediately obvious.

  • For example, “One of the pitfalls of starting a new business is the lack of capital.”
  • In a discussion about travel, someone might warn, “Beware of the pitfalls of booking cheap flights.”
  • A person reflecting on a failed project might say, “We encountered several pitfalls along the way that we didn’t anticipate.”

62. Rub

To rub is to encounter a problem or complication that causes delays or difficulties. It is often used to describe a situation where things don’t go smoothly or as planned.

  • For instance, “We hit a bit of a rub when the delivery didn’t arrive on time.”
  • In a conversation about a challenging task, someone might say, “I’m trying to finish this report, but I keep running into rubs.”
  • A person recounting a series of unfortunate events might say, “Everything was going well until we hit a rub and everything fell apart.”

63. Snarl-up

A snarl-up refers to a situation where things become tangled or congested, leading to complications or delays. It is often used to describe a traffic jam or a situation where things get stuck or entangled.

  • For example, “There was a massive snarl-up on the highway due to an accident.”
  • In a discussion about a logistical challenge, someone might say, “We’re trying to coordinate multiple teams, and it’s turning into a real snarl-up.”
  • A person frustrated with a complicated process might exclaim, “This whole thing is just one big snarl-up!”

64. Stumbling block

A stumbling block refers to a difficulty or challenge that hinders progress or creates complications. It is often used to describe a specific problem or issue that needs to be overcome.

  • For instance, “Lack of funding has been a major stumbling block for the project.”
  • In a conversation about personal growth, someone might say, “Fear of failure can be a stumbling block to pursuing your dreams.”
  • A person reflecting on a failed relationship might say, “Trust issues were a stumbling block in our marriage.”

65. Thorn

A thorn refers to a problem or complication that causes annoyance or difficulty. It is often used to describe a persistent challenge or issue that is hard to overcome.

  • For example, “Dealing with difficult clients can be a thorn in the side of any business.”
  • In a discussion about a challenging task, someone might say, “This problem has been a thorn in my side for weeks.”
  • A person reflecting on a complicated situation might say, “There are many thorns to navigate in the world of politics.”

66. Upset

This term refers to a situation or event that causes distress, disruption, or inconvenience. It can also describe a feeling of emotional turmoil or frustration.

  • For example, “I had an upset at work today when my computer crashed and I lost all my files.”
  • Someone might say, “I’m feeling really upset about the argument I had with my friend.”
  • In a sports context, a fan might exclaim, “That was an upset victory for the underdog team!”

67. Wrench

In slang, a “wrench” is used to describe something that complicates or hinders progress. It can refer to a physical object or a figurative challenge or problem.

  • For instance, “The unexpected rainstorm threw a wrench into our plans for a picnic.”
  • A person might say, “I can’t come to the party tonight, I have a wrench in the form of a work deadline.”
  • In a discussion about a difficult project, someone might comment, “We’re facing a lot of wrenches along the way, but we’ll overcome them.”

68. Barrier

A “barrier” is an obstacle or difficulty that prevents progress or makes a situation more complicated. It can refer to a physical obstacle or a figurative challenge.

  • For example, “Language barriers can be a major complication when traveling to a foreign country.”
  • A person might say, “Financial barriers are preventing me from pursuing my dream career.”
  • In a discussion about achieving goals, someone might comment, “Don’t let barriers hold you back from reaching your full potential.”

69. Bump

In slang, a “bump” refers to a setback or complication that interrupts progress or causes delays. It can also describe a minor problem or inconvenience.

  • For instance, “We hit a bump in the road when our car broke down on the way to the concert.”
  • A person might say, “I had a bump at work today when my computer crashed and I lost an hour’s worth of work.”
  • In a discussion about a challenging project, someone might comment, “We’ve encountered a few bumps along the way, but we’re still on track to meet the deadline.”

70. Catch-23

A “catch-23” is a play on the term “catch-22” and refers to a situation where there are two equally undesirable or conflicting options or outcomes. It describes a complicated dilemma or paradox.

  • For example, “I’m in a catch-23 situation where I have to choose between attending my best friend’s wedding or a once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity.”
  • Someone might say, “I feel stuck in a catch-23 because no matter what I do, someone will be disappointed.”
  • In a discussion about difficult choices, a person might comment, “Life is full of catch-23s where there’s no perfect solution.”

71. Hitch in the giddy-up

This phrase is used to describe a complication or issue that arises and causes a disruption or delay in progress. It suggests that something unexpected has occurred that is hindering or slowing down the intended outcome.

  • For example, “We were making good progress on the project until we hit a hitch in the giddy-up and had to start over.”
  • In a conversation about a road trip, someone might say, “We had a hitch in the giddy-up when we got a flat tire halfway to our destination.”
  • A person discussing a complicated relationship might say, “There’s always a hitch in the giddy-up when it comes to our communication.”

72. Hurdle race

This term refers to a situation or endeavor that is filled with challenges or complications, much like a race with hurdles. It implies that there are numerous obstacles that need to be overcome in order to achieve the desired result.

  • For instance, “Starting a new business can be a hurdle race with all the regulations and competition.”
  • In a discussion about pursuing a difficult career, someone might say, “Becoming a professional athlete is like running a hurdle race with constant challenges.”
  • A person talking about their personal struggles might say, “Life has been a hurdle race lately, but I’m determined to keep pushing forward.”

73. Monkey on the back

This slang phrase is used to describe a persistent issue or problem that weighs heavily on someone’s mind or causes ongoing complications in their life. It implies that the problem is difficult to shake off, much like a monkey clinging to one’s back.

  • For example, “Debt can be a monkey on the back, constantly causing stress and financial complications.”
  • In a conversation about addiction, someone might say, “Getting sober was a challenge, but I finally got that monkey off my back.”
  • A person discussing a difficult relationship might say, “I can’t seem to get rid of this emotional monkey on my back.”

74. Pitfall trap

This term refers to a hidden or unexpected complication or danger that can cause problems or setbacks. It suggests that there are potential pitfalls or traps that one needs to be cautious of in order to avoid complications.

  • For instance, “Starting a new business can be full of pitfall traps, such as legal issues and market fluctuations.”
  • In a discussion about planning a wedding, someone might say, “There are so many pitfall traps to watch out for, like hidden costs and unreliable vendors.”
  • A person talking about navigating a complex project might say, “We need to be aware of the pitfall traps along the way and have contingency plans in place.”

75. Rub in the wrong way

This phrase is used to describe something that bothers or irritates someone, often causing complications or conflicts. It suggests that the situation or action is rubbing against someone’s preferences or values in a negative way.

  • For example, “His constant criticism really rubs me in the wrong way and makes it difficult to work together.”
  • In a conversation about personal pet peeves, someone might say, “People who chew loudly really rub me in the wrong way.”
  • A person discussing a difficult coworker might say, “Their passive-aggressive behavior always rubs the team in the wrong way and creates tension.”

76. Snag in the plan

This phrase refers to an unexpected problem or difficulty that arises and hinders the progress or success of a plan or situation.

  • For example, “There was a snag in the plan when the main speaker canceled at the last minute.”
  • In a work setting, someone might say, “We encountered a snag in the plan when the computer system crashed.”
  • A person discussing a failed project might say, “There were too many snags in the plan, and it ultimately fell apart.”

77. Snarl in the works

This phrase describes a situation where there is a tangled or complicated problem that disrupts the smooth progress or functioning of something.

  • For instance, “The unexpected change in regulations created a snarl in the works for the construction project.”
  • In a discussion about a delayed product release, someone might say, “There was a snarl in the works due to manufacturing issues.”
  • A person describing a difficult relationship might say, “Constant arguments and disagreements caused a snarl in the works of our friendship.”

78. Stumbling stone

This term refers to a difficulty or challenge that causes someone to stumble or struggle in achieving their goals or completing a task.

  • For example, “Lack of funding was a stumbling stone for the startup company.”
  • In a conversation about a failed job interview, someone might say, “Nerves became a stumbling stone, and I couldn’t answer the questions confidently.”
  • A person discussing their weight loss journey might say, “Emotional eating has been a stumbling stone in my path to a healthier lifestyle.”

79. Thorn in the side

This phrase describes something or someone that is a persistent source of irritation or difficulty.

  • For instance, “The constant barking of the neighbor’s dog is a thorn in my side.”
  • In a discussion about a challenging coworker, someone might say, “Dealing with their negativity every day is a thorn in the side.”
  • A person describing ongoing financial problems might say, “Mounting debt has become a thorn in my side.”

80. Trouble in paradise

This phrase is used to describe a situation where there are unexpected problems or conflicts in an otherwise ideal or happy situation.

  • For example, “They seemed like the perfect couple, but there was trouble in paradise when they started arguing constantly.”
  • In a conversation about a dream vacation gone wrong, someone might say, “We thought everything was perfect, but there was trouble in paradise when the hotel lost our reservation.”
  • A person discussing a failing business might say, “The declining sales were a sign of trouble in paradise.”

81. Upset apple cart

To cause a disturbance or upset in a carefully organized plan or situation.

  • For example, “The sudden rainstorm upset the apple cart and ruined the outdoor picnic.”
  • In a business context, someone might say, “The unexpected resignation of a key employee really upset the apple cart.”
  • A person discussing a relationship issue might say, “Her ex-boyfriend showing up at the party really upset the apple cart.”

82. Wrench in the works

An unexpected problem or obstacle that disrupts the smooth progress of a project or plan.

  • For instance, “The power outage during the presentation threw a wrench in the works.”
  • In a construction project, someone might say, “Discovering a hidden water pipe was a real wrench in the works.”
  • A person discussing a travel delay might say, “The canceled flight really threw a wrench in the works of our vacation plans.”

83. Barrier to entry

A factor or requirement that makes it difficult for new participants to enter a particular industry or market.

  • For example, “The high cost of equipment serves as a barrier to entry for many small businesses.”
  • In a discussion about education, someone might say, “The lack of affordable tuition options can be a barrier to entry for potential students.”
  • A person discussing a job market might say, “The requirement of a specific certification acts as a barrier to entry for job seekers.”

84. Bump in the road

A small obstacle or setback that temporarily hinders progress or causes a delay.

  • For instance, “The printer running out of ink was just a bump in the road.”
  • In a project management context, someone might say, “We encountered a few bumps in the road, but we were able to overcome them.”
  • A person discussing a personal goal might say, “Losing motivation for a short period was just a bump in the road towards achieving my fitness goals.”

85. Catch-24

A play on words combining “catch-22” and “Catch-24”, referring to a situation where there is no easy or favorable resolution.

  • For example, “Being caught between two equally undesirable options is a Catch-24.”
  • In a legal context, someone might say, “The conflicting laws created a Catch-24 for the defendant.”
  • A person discussing a moral dilemma might say, “Choosing between two morally wrong actions is a Catch-24 situation.”