Definition of gruelling in English:


(US grueling)


  • Extremely tiring and demanding.

    ‘a gruelling schedule’
    • ‘The work week was six days, and each work day was a grueling 12 hours.’
    • ‘Every day was full of challenges, some gruelling, others just plain grubby.’
    • ‘As my husband points out, teaching is a grueling, challenging job and takes an enormous amount of energy.’
    • ‘Years later, as an Army wife herself, she remembers a grueling 15-day trip to Europe on a ship.’
    • ‘David has been a paratrooper for a year after surviving a gruelling six-month training course.’
    • ‘The scenery was breathtaking and it was a very enjoyable walk if a little gruelling at times.’
    • ‘Things did get a little gruelling at time, but by the time I had done 5K I knew that I was going to finish.’
    • ‘Then we'd shoulder the saplings in tandem and carry them back to the cottage, a gruelling 40 minutes.’
    • ‘These were based mainly in Scotland, where the courses were as gruelling as the terrain.’
    • ‘As with any new venture, those first 12 months have been crucial - and gruelling.’
    • ‘Plus, after a gruelling few days the creative juices were a little slack.’
    • ‘Since then he has run the London marathon and the gruelling 150-mile Great Sahara Run.’
    • ‘So he put an incorrect date of birth on the application form and completed the gruelling 26 mile route.’
    • ‘Teams of between two and eight dogs will run at speeds of over 20 miles per hour around the gruelling four-mile course.’
    • ‘Riders must complete four to five laps in one day, each of which can easily be a gruelling 25 miles long.’
    • ‘This could take up to an hour and must be completed by the end of a gruelling nine-hour shift.’
    • ‘Only 14 of the 40 horses finished the gruelling four-and-a-half mile course in Liverpool.’
    • ‘This wasn't the most pleasant way to begin a grueling, accusatory interview, but Jacobs' unease made sense for the obvious reasons.’
    • ‘But in a strange way, it added a level of realism that we wouldn't have got, gruelling though it was.’
    • ‘The documentary filmed them preparing for the latter, and their gruelling training regime was something to behold.’
    exhausting, tiring, fatiguing, wearying, enervating, taxing, draining, sapping, debilitating
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Mid 19th century: from the verb gruel ‘exhaust, punish’, from an old phrase get one's gruel ‘receive one's punishment’.