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[ahr-joo-uh s or, esp. British, ahr-dyoo-] /ˈɑr dʒu əs or, esp. British, ˈɑr dyu-/
requiring great exertion; laborious; difficult:
an arduous undertaking.
requiring or using much energy and vigor; strenuous:
making an arduous effort.
hard to climb; steep:
an arduous path up the hill.
hard to endure; full of hardships; severe:
an arduous winter.
Origin of arduous
1530-40; < Latin arduus erect, steep, laborious; see -ous
Related forms
arduously, adverb
arduousness, noun
superarduous, adjective
superarduously, adverb
superarduousness, noun
unarduous, adjective
unarduously, adverb
unarduousness, noun
1. hard, toilsome, onerous, wearisome, burdensome, exhausting.
1. easy. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for arduous
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There were at least two sergeants, he claimed furiously, whose turn it should have been to go on this arduous mission.

    Last Words Stephen Crane
  • The acquisition of these qualities is to man a most arduous task.

    The Young Maiden A. B. (Artemas Bowers) Muzzey
  • To hunt them out of their native lairs and bind them to arduous and ignominious servitude was hardly to be thought of.

    The Planters of Colonial Virginia Thomas J. Wertenbaker
  • Yet to enforce it was the most arduous task which Christianity ever had to perform.

    The Subjection of Women John Stuart Mill
  • It was near the close of day, when she retired from the presence of the garrison, to seek repose from her arduous duties.

    The Rivals of Acadia Harriet Vaughan Cheney
British Dictionary definitions for arduous


requiring great physical or mental effort; difficult to accomplish; strenuous
hard to endure; harsh: arduous conditions
hard to overcome or surmount; steep or difficult: an arduous track
Derived Forms
arduously, adverb
arduousness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin arduus steep, difficult
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for arduous

1530s, "hard to accomplish, difficult to do," from Latin arduus "high, steep," also figuratively, "difficult," from PIE root *eredh- "to grow, high" (see ortho-). Literal sense of "high, steep, difficult to climb," attested in English from 1709.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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