chal·leng·ing | \-lən-jiŋ \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from challenging

challengingly \-jiŋ-lē \ 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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

What’s the most challenging part about having a race in New York? Michelle R. Martinelli, For The Win, "6 things to know about Formula E's championship race in New York," 13 July 2018 What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of being the executive chef at Beano's Cabin? Discover Magazine, "One-on-One with Executive Chef Kevin Erving," 6 July 2018 Adding in devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home, plus televisions, iPads and phones, makes the acoustics in those spaces even more challenging. Alina Dizik, WSJ, "Quieting the High-Tech Luxury Home," 28 June 2018 Building trust is made even more challenging by the sensational sound bites and hot headlines about the failings of Facebook, the Equifax breach, and the security flaws in microprocessors. Eric Dishman, STAT, "I handed over my genetic data to the NIH. Here’s why you should, too," 13 June 2018 Has your connection to Puerto Rico made this assignment more challenging? Harmeet Kaur, CNN, "What it's like on the ground in Puerto Rico," 2 June 2018 Of course being pregnant made university even more challenging. Patricia Murphy, Fox News, "Minnesota woman graduates college 21 hours after giving birth," 28 May 2018 The partial closure will last several months and will make getting into and out of downtown Kansas City a bit more challenging. Robert A. Cronkleton, kansascity, "Drivers over Buck O'Neil (Broadway) Bridge will see their commute change; here's when | The Kansas City Star," 30 Apr. 2018 Even more challenging for the system is that close to all of these kids don’t speak English, and finding Spanish-speaking resources is very difficult. Emily Atkin, The New Republic, "The Uncertain Fate of Migrant Children Sent to Foster Care," 20 June 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of challenging

1842, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for challenging

see challenge entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about challenging

Share challenging

Dictionary Entries near challenging


challenge cup






Statistics for challenging

Last Updated

9 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for challenging

The first known use of challenging was in 1842

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for challenging



English Language Learners Definition of challenging

: difficult in a way that is usually interesting or enjoyable

Keep scrolling for more

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).


lying above or upon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!