chal·​leng·​ing | \ ˈcha-lən-jiŋ How to pronounce challenging (audio) \

Definition of challenging

1 : arousing competitive interest, thought, or action a challenging course of study a challenging job
2 : invitingly provocative : fascinating a challenging personality challenging questions

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Other Words from challenging

challengingly \ ˈcha-​lən-​jiŋ-​lē How to pronounce challengingly (audio) \ adverb

Examples of challenging in a Sentence

I find the job challenging and fun. Teaching is challenging but rewarding work. It's a challenging book that requires careful reading. The slope was challenging for even the most experienced climbers.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Mina Starsiak Hawk is facing her most challenging moment of motherhood yet. Megan Stein, Country Living, "'Good Bones’ Star Mina Starsiak Hawk's 11-Month-Old Son Just Had an Operation," 9 July 2019 The vacancy in a key management position comes at a challenging time for Cardinal. Nina Trentmann, WSJ, "Drug Distributor Cardinal Health Faces Recruitment Challenge as CFO Departs," 8 July 2019 These financial burdens come at a challenging time. Peter Rowe, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Poway’s Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein: a brush with death leads to a new life," 7 July 2019 As a technology leader, feeling confident in determining the crucial 20% emerges as the most challenging aspect of applying the rule. Teresa Dietrich, Quartz at Work, "How to stay focused on the business decisions that matter most," 26 June 2019 Lawsuits challenging conditions inside California’s crowded prisons resulted in a fixed cap on the inmate population, one imposed by federal judges in 2009 and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2011 and again in 2013. John Myers,, "California ends its long, costly shift of prisoners to other states," 30 June 2019 Middle school is such a challenging time in kids’ lives. Janice Steinhagen,, "Griswold Teacher To Ride The Rails With NEH Fellowship," 28 June 2019 Imagine, for a moment, that a member of your family were marching through a challenging time -- battling in the aftermath of trauma, suffering from depression, slipping into poverty after losing a job, or dealing with divorce. Leila Atassi,, "Volunteer for Open Table to changes lives – including your own. Training starts in July: A Greater Cleveland," 27 June 2019 The fire comes at a challenging time, just before summer season launches this weekend. Laylan Connelly, The Mercury News, "Iconic lifeguard tower burns at the Wedge surf spot," 21 June 2019

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

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First Known Use of challenging

1842, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for challenging

see challenge entry 1

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Learn More about challenging

Dictionary Entries near challenging


challenge cup






Statistics for challenging

Last Updated

17 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for challenging

The first known use of challenging was in 1842

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More Definitions for challenging



English Language Learners Definition of challenging

: difficult in a way that is usually interesting or enjoyable

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Comments on challenging

What made you want to look up challenging? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


characterized by aphorism

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