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adjective oner·ous \ˈä-nə-rəs, ˈō-\

Simple Definition of onerous

  • : difficult and unpleasant to do or deal with

Full Definition of onerous

  1. 1 :  involving, imposing, or constituting a burden :  troublesome <an onerous task>

  2. 2 :  having legal obligations that outweigh the advantages <an onerous contract>

oner·ous·ly adverb
oner·ous·ness noun

Examples of onerous

  1. Then everyone was asked, how fairly did you act?, from “extremely unfairly” (1) to “extremely fairly” (7). Next they watched someone else make the assignments, and judged that person's ethics. Selflessness was a virtual no-show: 87 out of 94 people opted for the easy task and gave the next guy the onerous one. —Sharon Begley, Newsweek, 23 June 2008

  2. The first hitch occurred when the state education department took a full six months after the new law was adopted to issue 12 pages of onerous rules and regulations governing Arkansas charter schools. —Wendy Cole, Time, 10 June 2000

  3. Environmentalism poses stark issues of survival, for humankind and for all those other tribes of creatures over which we have exercised our onerous dominion. —Marilynne Robinson, The Death of Adam, 1998

  4. Rap tested well, but early on the promoters said they wouldn't be booking any gangsta rap, a move at least partly designed to calm security concerns during the onerous process of complying with the strict mass-gathering laws enacted in the wake of the 1969 festival. —John Milward, Rolling Stone, 11 Aug. 1994

  5. The government imposed onerous taxes on imports.

  6. <had the onerous and stressful job of notifying the families of soldiers killed in action>

Origin of onerous

Middle English, from Middle French honereus, from Latin onerosus, from oner-, onus burden; akin to Sanskrit anas cart

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of onerous

onerous, burdensome, oppressive, exacting mean imposing hardship. onerous stresses being laborious and heavy especially because distasteful <the onerous task of cleaning up the mess>. burdensome suggests causing mental as well as physical strain <burdensome responsibilities>. oppressive implies extreme harshness or severity in what is imposed <the oppressive tyranny of a police state>. exacting implies rigor or sternness rather than tyranny or injustice in the demands made or in the one demanding <an exacting employer>.

Rhymes with onerous

ONEROUS Defined for Kids


adjective oner·ous \ˈä-nə-rəs, ˈō-\

Definition of onerous

  1. :  being difficult and unpleasant to do or to deal with <“… do you never find your duties onerous or irksome?” — E. B. White, The Trumpet of the Swan>

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February 7, 2016

a slight offense

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