ar·​du·​ous | \ ˈär-jə-wəs How to pronounce arduous (audio) , -dyu̇-, -jü-əs \

Definition of arduous

1a : hard to accomplish or achieve : difficult an arduous task years of arduous training
b : marked by great labor or effort : strenuous … a life of arduous toil.— A. C. Cole
2 : hard to climb : steep an arduous path

Other Words from arduous

arduously adverb
arduousness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for arduous

hard, difficult, arduous mean demanding great exertion or effort. hard implies the opposite of all that is easy. farming is hard work difficult implies the presence of obstacles to be surmounted or puzzles to be resolved and suggests the need of skill or courage. the difficult ascent of the mountain arduous stresses the need of laborious and persevering exertion. the arduous task of rebuilding

Did you know?

"To forgive is the most arduous pitch human nature can arrive at." When Richard Steele published that line in The Guardian in 1713, he was using arduous in what was apparently a fairly new way for English writers in his day: to imply that something was steep or lofty as well as difficult or strenuous. Steele's use is one of the earliest documented in English for that meaning, but he didn't commit it to paper until almost 150 years after the first uses of the word in its "strenuous" sense. Although the "steep" sense is newer, it is still true to the word's origins; arduous derives from the Latin arduus, which means "high," "steep," or "difficult."

Examples of arduous in a Sentence

Traveling for several days by train, stagecoach and horseback, they would reach Mariposa Grove, a stand of some 200 ancient giant sequoias, where they would rest before embarking on an arduous descent via 26 switchbacks into the valley. — Tony Perrottet, Smithsonian, July 2008 As yoga classes go, this is not an arduous one, but the students don't know that. — Richard Corliss, Time, 23 Apr. 2001 Women of middling means had the most to gain from increased consumption, for imported goods often reduced their long and arduous labor, especially in making candles and soap or in spinning and weaving cloth. — Alan Taylor, American Colonies, 2000 He went through a long and arduous training program. an arduous journey across miles of desert
Recent Examples on the Web The process of sitting for the painting proved quite arduous; Siddall lay in a bath full of water, with oil lamps underneath to keep the water warm, for hours on end. Elizabeth Djinis, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 May 2022 The government is alert to this responsibility, and is now underwriting the pricey and arduous process of peatland rescue. New York Times, 5 May 2022 These seniors at Downtown Magnets High School in Los Angeles are nearing the end of an arduous, stressful college admissions season — among the most competitive ever. Teresa Watanabestaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 29 Apr. 2022 Navigating her parents’ divorce and her mother’s declining mental health, the Cuban-American public health leader found school arduous. Janel Martinez,, 28 Apr. 2022 For parents, the authorization of vaccines for the youngest population in the country has been a stressful, arduous wait. Cheyenne Haslett, ABC News, 28 Apr. 2022 It is touted as the most arduous speed boat race in the world. Josh Reed, Anchorage Daily News, 23 Apr. 2022 Up until 2004, the only way to reach the small settlement was by boat or an arduous, 2.8-mile footpath that took two hours one way — not ideal when carrying a load of crops. Lauren Breedlove, Travel + Leisure, 21 Apr. 2022 Those were arduous years of school integration in Alabama. Roy S. Johnson |, al, 18 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'arduous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of arduous

1549, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

History and Etymology for arduous

Latin arduus high, steep, difficult; akin to Old Irish ard high

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The first known use of arduous was in 1549

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Last Updated

13 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Arduous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for arduous


ar·​du·​ous | \ ˈär-jə-wəs How to pronounce arduous (audio) \

Kids Definition of arduous

: difficult sense 1 an arduous climb

Other Words from arduous

arduously adverb working arduously

More from Merriam-Webster on arduous

Nglish: Translation of arduous for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of arduous for Arabic Speakers


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