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or (especially British) gruelling

[groo-uh-ling, groo-ling] /ˈgru ə lɪŋ, ˈgru lɪŋ/
exhausting; very tiring; arduously severe:
the grueling Boston marathon.
any trying or exhausting procedure or experience.
Origin of grueling
1850-55; slang gruel punishment (noun), punish (v.) + -ing2, -ing1
Related forms
gruelingly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for gruelling
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He felt sure that he was in such prime physical condition that he could endure the gruelling grind.

  • It was a gruelling four years' struggle, but with success at the end of it.

    Herbert Hoover Vernon Kellogg
  • Now was to be one of the most gruelling sea-fights in which George Walker ever engaged.

  • But they were met by a gruelling volley, and with the cry of "No quarter!"

    Famous Indian Chiefs Charles H. L. Johnston
  • Those composing the little party never forgot the gruelling battle against odds that followed.

  • He's like a fractious colt just now—but when he's had a bit of gruelling, he'll run true to form.

    The Tempering Charles Neville Buck
  • But this gruelling unromantic work back in Paris is lacking in all those elements.

    Our Part in the Great War Arthur Gleason
  • He emerged into the open of the Holden lot as one who had at last achieved success after long and gruelling privation.

    Merton of the Movies Harry Leon Wilson
  • The final bout of fireworks was a gruelling for both champions.

    Ulysses James Joyce
British Dictionary definitions for gruelling


severe or tiring: a gruelling interview
(informal) a severe experience, esp punishment
Word Origin
C19: from now obsolete vb gruel to exhaust, punish
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 gruelling

also grueling, "exhausting, punishing," 1891, from late 18c. slang get one's gruel "receive one's punishment," from gruel.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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