gru·​el·​ing | \ˈgrü-ə-liŋ \
variants: or gruelling

Definition of grueling 

: trying or taxing to the point of exhaustion : punishing a grueling race

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from grueling

gruelingly \ˈgrü-​ə-​liŋ-​lē \ adverb

Examples of grueling in a Sentence

running a marathon is grueling cutting diamonds can be grueling work

Recent Examples on the Web

The agency is already under pressure after a grueling hurricane season last year that included Harvey, Irma and Maria. Colleen Long, The Seattle Times, "Fate of FEMA leader in doubt as Florence cleanup continues," 18 Sep. 2018 My logic is: The happier the outfit, the less grueling the trip. Madeline Fass, Vogue, "19 Vogue Editors Share Their Ideal Holiday Travel Outfit," 15 Nov. 2018 The group keeps up a grueling practice and travel schedule, performing throughout the United States. Michael Rubinkam, The Seattle Times, "Renowned former drum corps leader charged with sex assault," 13 Nov. 2018 To prepare her body for the grueling cardio and strength challenges that await, Davis, a long-distance runner, has embraced heavy weight lifting. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "How an Extreme Endurance Athlete Trains to Trek 704 Miles From Antarctica to the South Pole," 11 Oct. 2018 The Wild Boars were eventually rescued after a grueling effort that claimed the life of one Thai Navy SEAL. Bijan Stephen, The Verge, "Elon Musk can’t stop tweeting, but so far it doesn’t matter," 19 July 2018 On her favorite workouts Daddario underwent grueling daily workouts to prep for her role as a lifeguard in the 2017 hit Baywatch. Lisa Desantis,, "This Is The Workout That Got Alexandra Daddario Into 'Baywatch' Shape," 19 June 2018 The 29-year-old is putting himself through daily grueling training sessions to rehabilitate his leg. Aaron Wilson, Houston Chronicle, "Texans DL coach expects same J.J. Watt," 5 June 2018 Tennis players never speak this candidly, especially not about the ways the sport can be grueling and mentally exhausting. Kevin Nguyen, GQ, "Naomi Osaka Is the Coolest Thing in Tennis," 24 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'grueling.' 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 grueling

1852, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for grueling

from present participle of obsolete gruel to exhaust, punish, from gruel, noun

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about grueling

Dictionary Entries near grueling








Statistics for grueling

Last Updated

5 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for grueling

The first known use of grueling was in 1852

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for grueling



English Language Learners Definition of grueling

: very difficult : requiring great effort


variants: or gruelling \ˈgrü-​ə-​liŋ \

Kids Definition of grueling

: calling for great effort a grueling job

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on grueling

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for grueling

Spanish Central: Translation of grueling

Nglish: Translation of grueling for Spanish Speakers

Comments on grueling

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


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
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!