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 Martin, who was 80, continued to make arduous mountain hikes to document and count snake populations in remote sites, said Joe Villari, who manages the Bull Run Mountains Preserve in Northern Virginia and would accompany Martin on his outings. Matthew Barakat, USA TODAY, 13 Aug. 2022 The more sensitive the information, the more arduous the background check process a person would need to pass to get clearance. Perry Stein, Washington Post, 13 Aug. 2022 But generally Huddles is fast, easy, and somehow much less arduous than picking up the phone. Wired, 13 Aug. 2022 The light touch would be presumably easier to enact and not require the arduous kind of legal and societal angst if a more gut-wrenching series of demonstrative changes were made to the existent legal regimes. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 10 Aug. 2022 Others—who would not have terminated—lose the chance to prepare for the birth of a child with special needs and to avoid a long and often arduous search for a diagnosis as evidence of a problem emerges postnatally. Laura Hercher, Scientific American, 3 Aug. 2022 Sportswriters are attuned to the arduous path from youth ball to the major leagues, the game’s inherent failures and daily repetitive grind even the best players endure. Los Angeles Times, 25 July 2022 Designers are accustomed to giving clients reminders during the sometimes-arduous construction process: Home in on a style to keep aesthetics consistent. Krissa Rossbund, Better Homes & Gardens, 19 July 2022 Twitter Chairman Bret Taylor responded by vowing to enforce the deal in what promises to be an arduous court brawl. Jef Feeley, Fortune, 10 July 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

17 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Arduous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Aug. 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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