a. A point or matter of discussion, debate, or dispute: What legal and moral issues should we consider?
b. A matter of public concern: debated economic issues.
c. A misgiving, objection, or complaint: had issues with the plan to change the curriculum.
a. A problem or difficulty.
b. A personal problem: is convinced that her boss has issues.
a. The act of circulating, distributing, or publishing by a business, government, or organization: government issue of new bonds.
b. An item or set of items, as stamps or coins, made available at one time by a business, government, or organization.
c. A single copy of a periodical: the May issue of the magazine.
d. A distinct set of copies of an edition of a book distinguished from others of that edition by variations in the printed matter.
e. Proceeds from estates or fines.
f. Something proceeding from a specified source: suspicions that were the issue of a deranged mind.
g. A culminating point leading to a decision: bring a case to an issue.
h. A final result or conclusion, as a solution to a problem.
a. The act or an instance of flowing, passing, or giving out: where the lake gives issue to its waters.
b. A place of egress; an outlet: a lake with no issue to the sea.
a. A discharge, as of blood or pus.
b. A lesion, wound, or ulcer producing such a discharge.
6. Offspring; progeny: died without issue.
v. is·sued, is·su·ing, is·sues
a. To flow, go, or come out: water issuing from a spring; voices issuing from a room. See Synonyms at appear.
b. To proceed from a source; emerge or come forth: ideas issuing from a discussion. See Synonyms at stem1.
c. To have as a consequence; result: discontent that issued in social unrest.
2. To accrue as proceeds or profit: Little money issued from the stocks.
3. To be born or be descended: generations issuing from an ancestor.
4. To be circulated or published: books issuing from a publisher.
1. To circulate or distribute in an official capacity: issued uniforms to the players.
2. To publish: issued periodic statements.
3. To pour forth or send out; emit: a chimney issuing smoke.
1. In question; in dispute: "Many people fail to grasp what is really at issue here" (Gail Sheehy).
2. At variance; in disagreement.
1. To enter into controversy.
2. Law To submit an issue for decision.
To take an opposing point of view; disagree.
[Middle English, from Old French eissue, issue, from Vulgar Latin *exūta, alteration of Latin exita, feminine past participle of exīre, to go out : ex-, ex- + īre, to go; see ei- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Usage Note: People often use issue to refer to a problem, difficulty, or condition, especially an embarrassing or discrediting one. The word is frequently used in the plural. Thus, a business executive who has been accused of fraud is said to have legal issues, a company facing bankruptcy has financial issues, and a person who picks fights may have anger management issues. Some people dislike this usage, claiming that it is imprecise or euphemistic. The majority of the Usage Panel frowned on it in 2002, but in just over ten years, opinion has shifted such that a majority now find it acceptable. In our 2013 survey, 78 percent of the Usage Panel accepted issue in these examples: That kid has issues and needs to see the guidance counselor. I don't want to hire someone who has issues with carrying out orders from an authority. Although the acceptance was lukewarm (about a third of the panelists found these sentences only "somewhat acceptable"), this is a substantial increase over the 39 percent who accepted similar sentences in 2002. A similar shift of opinion has occurred concerning the use of issue for a technical problem. In 2002, only 18 percent of Panelists approved of the sentence There were a number of issues installing the printer driver in the new release of the software. By 2013, approval had risen to 68 percent. Although issue is now widely acceptable, choosing another word, such as glitch, problem, or complication, can often lend precision to your writing.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.