Synonyms & Antonyms of onerous

2 requiring much time, effort, or careful attention
  • building the scale model of the frigate was an onerous task

Synonyms for onerous

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Antonyms for onerous

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Frequently Asked Questions About onerous

How does the adjective onerous contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of onerous are burdensome, exacting, and oppressive. While all these words mean "imposing hardship," onerous stresses being laborious and heavy especially because distasteful.

the onerous task of cleaning up the mess

In what contexts can burdensome take the place of onerous?

The synonyms burdensome and onerous are sometimes interchangeable, but burdensome suggests causing mental as well as physical strain.

burdensome responsibilities

Where would exacting be a reasonable alternative to onerous?

While the synonyms exacting and onerous are close in meaning, exacting implies rigor or sternness rather than tyranny or injustice in the demands made or in the one demanding.

an exacting employer

When might oppressive be a better fit than onerous?

In some situations, the words oppressive and onerous are roughly equivalent. However, oppressive implies extreme harshness or severity in what is imposed.

the oppressive tyranny of a police state

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The first known use of onerous was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Onerous.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on onerous

Nglish: Translation of onerous for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of onerous for Arabic Speakers


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