I'm often confusing the meaning of Cumbersome and Trivial.

I always visit on 'StackOverFlow', and watch these questions or answers, such as,

This is cumbersome problem.

Those things are quite trivial.

My question is

  1. Do 'Cumbersome' and 'Trivial' have similar meanings, in general speaking?

  2. Are they polite words?

  3. If they have same meanings, which word is more useful?

Sorry about my bad english..

  • 1
    These words have very different meanings. Have you tried a dictionary? Commented Jan 29, 2014 at 8:45

2 Answers 2


They are almost opposites.

A cumbersome problem is not easy to solve, there are many difficult aspects to it.

A trivial problem is not a real problem at all, it can be so easily solved that the solution often does not even have to be mentioned.

On stack overflow you might find a phrase like

Well, after setting up your database replication, you still have to write a script to fill it with test data. But that is trivial.

Whereas setting up the replication itself might be considered cumbersome.

  • Thanks for your kind answer. It's really helpful, I never feel confuse about these meanings, any more.
    – hyun
    Commented Jan 29, 2014 at 9:01

I would not call them opposites, they're largely orthogonal concepts.

Cumbersome is mainly about the amount of (annoying) work required. A cumbersome problem may be difficult as well, but not necessarily so.

Something trivial requires no particular insights or skills to solve.

Some problems are both trivial and cumbersome. Mathematicians in particular like to call tedious/cumbersome calculations "trivial".

  • Thanks for your elaborate explain. I'll remember - "Some problems are both trivial and cumbersome.". Thanks a lot.
    – hyun
    Commented Jan 29, 2014 at 13:00

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