Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Does "he has some issues to work out" have some special meaning?

Is it an idiom? How is its meaning different from "he has some problems to solve"?

share|improve this question
add comment

4 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

There's a particular implication of the "issues" or "problems" involved being mental or emotional ones. It's more closely equivalent to "he's a little neurotic" than "he has some problems to solve".

share|improve this answer
2  
+1 It frequently means that the person is such a dysfunctional mess that you should stay away from them. –  jbelacqua Mar 20 '11 at 6:34
add comment

Yes it is an idiom. Polite way to say he is unstable and needs to see a psychiatrist or at least get a grip :)

share|improve this answer
add comment

Yes, "he has issues" would imply mental or emotional instability. Extending "instability" from an individual's mental state to the nation's financial state, a business publication referred to the recent wave of American bank failures as "American issues." But perhaps that's such a bad usage that it doesn't deserve notice.

share|improve this answer
add comment

In this context the "issues" are usually psychological. It's elided out of politeness. "Problems to solve" could just as well refer to homework.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.