Definition of Herculean in English:



  • 1Requiring great strength or effort.

    ‘a Herculean task’
    • ‘Now that the weather is up and thanks to the Herculean work of the cemetery development committee more and more people are taking to visiting Leigue Cemetery as one of the overlooked heritage centres of Ballina.’
    • ‘If getting things done in government requires a Herculean effort on the part of the prime minister and his staff, one can only imagine what it must be like for a regional minister trying to promote regional concerns.’
    • ‘And I think it will require a Herculean effort, on the part of the defense, to create a reasonable doubt on all of the counts in this case.’
    • ‘With a Herculean effort, the guys finished the fence yesterday.’
    • ‘Whatever minimal disclosure has been achieved is due to Herculean efforts by student anti-sweatshop activists.’
    • ‘It shouldn't require a Herculean effort to get a Linux box connected to a Windows network.’
    • ‘But there are a lot of people who have Herculean battles with the courts that are unfair and not in the best interests of their kids or families.’
    • ‘It was only with Herculean effort did I manage to sum up the courage to net that fish and put him in another bowl in order to deal with the sludge that had accumulated in the tank.’
    • ‘The major problem is that Sofia's street are mainly cobbled, which is not a problem for the motor, but requires a Herculean effort steering the wheelchair.’
    • ‘The money required for such a Herculean task will be mind-boggling.’
    • ‘Exhausted by this Herculean task, she prepares to die.’
    • ‘Thanks to some terrific special effects, the illusion that Herculean feats are occurring on the field remains solid.’
    • ‘To define success on the sporting field as something that can essentially be bought is to diminish the Herculean efforts of those who compete as our representatives.’
    • ‘That he could not exhaust the Herculean tasks he has taken on in his characteristic fashion is a good thing, because he points us in the right direction - and leaves the rest of us something to do.’
    • ‘Outfitting the campus required a Herculean Olympic effort from the USOC staff and a dozen students working 12-hour shifts for six days in late July.’
    • ‘Even the simplest military task - like moving a unit from point A to point B - requires a Herculean logistical effort.’
    • ‘She can hardly concentrate for more than a half-hour or so on any task, so it took a Herculean effort to pen her love story to this valiant horse.’
    • ‘Making that kind of space for young people does not require a Herculean effort.’
    • ‘But we are as devastated and disappointed as anybody by the news that these Herculean efforts may not be enough.’
    • ‘With Herculean effort, they managed to move the than greatest power on Earth - the British Government - to recognize the rights of the Indians.’
    arduous, gruelling, laborious, back-breaking, onerous, strenuous, difficult, formidable, burdensome, hard, tough, huge, heavy, massive, uphill, sisyphean
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of a person) muscular and strong.
      • ‘But I'm far from the Herculean man mountain of muscle I was at my previous heights.’
      • ‘While performance enhancers can build a body to Herculean standards, they do not necessarily strengthen the heart within that body.’
      • ‘As I sat breathlessly in front of my television and watched the team last weekend, they became my Herculean heroes.’
      • ‘Finally, because they were bred to be such Herculean workers, malamutes need daily exercise on a leash or in an enclosed area.’
      strong, muscular, muscly, powerful, sturdy, robust, solid, well built, powerfully built, solidly built, strapping, brawny, burly, broad-shouldered, as strong as an ox, as strong as a horse, as strong as a lion
      View synonyms


Late 16th century (in the sense ‘relating to Hercules’): from Latin Herculeus ‘Hercules’ + -an.