What Is Another Way to Say “Difficult to Understand”?

Looking for synonyms for difficult to understand? We’ve got you covered!

Here’s a list of other ways to say difficult to understand.

  • Complex
  • Complicated
  • Intricate
  • Confounding
  • Perplexing
  • Cryptic
  • Obscure
  • Enigmatic
  • Esoteric
  • Abstruse
  • Arcane
  • Convoluted
  • Byzantine
  • Inscrutable
  • Opaque

Want to learn how to say difficult to understand professionally? Keep reading for examples and use cases.

1. Complex

Used to describe something with many different parts that are connected in a tangled or layered way, making it hard to understand.
Example: “The new software has a complex architecture that requires extensive training to understand.”

2. Complicated

Refers to something that is difficult to understand or deal with because of involving many different parts or aspects.
Example: “The legal issues surrounding the case are quite complicated, involving multiple jurisdictions.”

3. Intricate

Describes something very detailed or complicated, often with many interconnected elements.
Example: “The intricate design of the circuit board is a challenge for engineers.”

4. Confounding

Used when something is bewildering or confusing to the point of being difficult to understand.
Example: “The confounding symptoms made it difficult for doctors to diagnose the patient’s condition.”

5. Perplexing

Describes situations or problems that are difficult to understand because they are very puzzling.
Example: “The sudden drop in sales figures is perplexing and warrants further investigation.”

6. Cryptic

Refers to something that is difficult to understand because it is hidden or not clearly expressed.
Example: “The message left behind was cryptic and left everyone guessing its meaning.”

7. Obscure

Describes something that is not clear or easy to understand, often because it is not well-known or too complex.
Example: “The poet’s obscure references make his work challenging for casual readers.”

8. Enigmatic

Used for something that is mysterious and difficult to interpret or understand.
Example: “The CEO’s enigmatic statement left analysts debating its implications.”

9. Esoteric

Refers to knowledge that is intended for or understood by only a small number of people with a specialized knowledge or interest.
Example: “The research paper delves into esoteric theories that are not widely known outside of academic circles.”

10. Abstruse

Describes something that is extremely difficult to understand because of its complexity or obscurity.
Example: “The philosopher’s lectures on abstruse concepts of existence are not easily grasped.”

11. Arcane

Used to describe something that is known or understood by only a few people, often because it is old or complex.
Example: “The arcane rules of the club are a mystery to those not part of the inner circle.”

12. Convoluted

Describes something that is extremely complex and difficult to follow, often unnecessarily so.
Example: “The plot of the novel is convoluted, with too many twists and turns.”

13. Byzantine

Used to describe something that is excessively complicated, and typically involving a lot of administrative detail.
Example: “Navigating the byzantine regulations requires expert knowledge.”

14. Inscrutable

Refers to something that is impossible to understand or interpret, often because of being complex or not expressive.
Example: “Her inscrutable expression made it hard to guess what she was thinking.”

15. Opaque

Describes something that is difficult to understand or explain, often because it lacks clarity or is intentionally hidden.
Example: “The company’s financial statements are opaque, making it difficult for investors to assess its health.”

Linda Brown