Definition of back-breaking in English:


(also backbreaking)


  • attributive (especially of manual labor) physically demanding.

    ‘a day's back-breaking work’
    • ‘Those capable of working were not sent to the gas chambers, but put to back-breaking labour under horrific conditions.’
    • ‘In the searing hot sun, the road-gang convicts endure back-breaking physical labor - chopping dusty weeds by the side of the highway.’
    • ‘This took another 13 years of back-breaking work.’
    • ‘Other such jobs follow, short-lived, often back-breaking, alternating with drifting poverty-stricken in the city, sleeping in alleys and telephone booths.’
    • ‘Monday meant a return to the fields and back-breaking labour.’
    • ‘There is no sense in wasting all your energy on back-breaking physical or mental labor.’
    • ‘In poverty-stricken neighbourhoods of the city, the vast majority of children must work, often doing back-breaking manual labour for a few pounds a day.’
    • ‘These are the least desirable jobs because they require back-breaking labor, are outdoors, require exposure to pesticides, and pay the lowest wages.’
    • ‘For them, it is difficult to get sentimental about the back-breaking labour and the pitiful annual income.’
    • ‘Each spear is harvested by hand, and most cans are hand-packed, demanding countless hours of back-breaking field and factory labor - the cheaper the better.’
    • ‘I told him about the back-breaking work of doing it all ourselves, and how Jon had demolished the kitchen himself and then wired the whole room for electricity.’
    • ‘Building roads from the seashore up to five thousand feet on the slopes of Mauna Loa demanded back-breaking labor.’
    • ‘The unemployed were signed up to do back-breaking manual work for low pay.’
    • ‘The broader point is, in large reconstruction projects, back-breaking labor is often and most often - most often done by immigrants at low wages who are willing to do these jobs that the nation needs to be done.’
    • ‘The migrants workers are paid next to nothing to work picking strawberries, which is back-breaking work for long hours, and often they have no homes to go to when work is over.’
    • ‘Many women continued to work long, exhausting hours as wage labourers for miserly rates of pay, while as housewives their constant companions were poverty and back-breaking drudgery.’
    • ‘A recent union survey of shearers found 70 per cent would not encourage their friends, family or children to become shearers, saying the back-breaking work was no longer worth it.’
    • ‘While the methods may be back-breaking and labor-intensive, the payoff, winemakers say, is a purer, better quality wine and a product that's healthier.’
    • ‘Millions of children, mostly girls, are pulled out of school to look after sick relatives, do back-breaking paid work and run households.’
    • ‘Now, many find themselves worn out after decades of back-breaking physical work, and they are unable to find work.’
    gruelling, arduous, strenuous, onerous, punishing, murderous, crushing, herculean, demanding, exacting, taxing, formidable, exhausting, draining, laborious, burdensome, tough, stiff, uphill, heavy
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