Definition of punishing in US English:



  • 1Physically and mentally demanding; arduous.

    ‘a punishing eight-city book tour’
    • ‘Getting shipshape in the New Year doesn't have to be punishing or expensive.’
    • ‘Skinner also used a second type of punishing stimulus called the bar slap.’
    • ‘They owned the league's most punishing running game, one that gouged out nearly five yards per carry.’
    • ‘His punishing straight-line style makes up for a lack of a second gear.’
    • ‘The obvious antidote is not taking on such punishing workloads.’
    • ‘In the winter, Kathy follows a punishing routine of heavy weight training with the help of personal trainer Mike Smith.’
    • ‘He is insatiable in the quest for honours - often putting himself through a punishing schedule.’
    • ‘The survivors then had to make a punishing trek to an oasis 22 km away, where Haslam died.’
    • ‘Plus he had a punishing travel schedule to keep in touch with his constituents.’
    • ‘To support her family, Ratcliffe plunged into a punishing work schedule.’
    • ‘Running 10 miles in a cross chop is punishing in any boat.’
    • ‘At the starter's pistol, LaBuff, 23, immediately set a punishing early pace.’
    • ‘He's a punishing runner with great desire who has improved his speed.’
    • ‘Those European fires are being fueled in part by a punishing heat wave that's lasted now for more than a week.’
    • ‘Family and friends blamed a punishing work schedule for his collapse.’
    • ‘Veteran coach Robert Waseige, who had heart surgery earlier this year, put his squad through a punishing schedule.’
    • ‘But he can be a punishing runner and has good speed.’
    • ‘The sun was in a punishing mood even at four in the evening.’
    • ‘Despite his accomplishments, Andrew Carnegie will always be most remembered for punishing labor.’
    • ‘The only man to retire from the punishing demands of the heavyweight category unbowed by defeat in any fight was Rocky Marciano.’
    1. 1.1 Severe and debilitating.
      ‘the recession was having a punishing effect on our business’
      • ‘Bearing most of the costs and almost none of the rewards for their work, the vast majority of recording artists complete their contracts under a punishing cloud of debt.’
      • ‘Austrian filmmaker Hubert Sauper paints Tanzania as the victim of a complex and punishing dynamic that exists between industrialized nations and the developing world.’
      • ‘He believed, as virtually every historian now does, that the Treaty of Versailles was unjust and punishing.’
      • ‘Seven years later, It began a permanent presence in Cuba to expose the true human cost of the punishing U.S. embargo.’
      • ‘The noise level can be quite punishing, for a start.’
      • ‘The sense of punishing frustration is heightened by the pounding rain in the opening scene, mirrored later by the emergency fire sprinklers that soak Banek's law offices.’
      • ‘You really do not expect a fellow human being to wantonly attack your livelihood with such punishing vigour and regularity.’
      • ‘Ariel Sharon vowing there will be no letup in his punishing policies.’
      • ‘But a private company faces a much more punishing feedback mechanism - namely, bankruptcy - to ensure accountability than any public enterprise.’
      • ‘With the punishing economic downturn, police officers in many American cities are confronting what they describe as a surge in property crime.’
      • ‘Police departments generally tend to put a greater emphasis on punishing failure than on rewarding success.’
      • ‘It was hard to imagine how that merry prankster and mistress of worthy causes could be subject to such punishing mood swings.’
      • ‘You don't have to be in the path of a catastrophic hurricane to feel its punishing impact.’
      • ‘There are other applications of punishing procedures.’
      • ‘Kiarostami is on cutting duties again, and his edit makes for moments of punishing suspense.’
      • ‘Many Hindus were forced to convert to Islam to escape from the punishing taxes.’
      • ‘Libya's stunning decision yesterday to surrender its weapons of mass destruction followed two decades of international isolation and some of the world's most punishing economic sanctions.’
      • ‘Lesson for the kids out there: during a two-week period of punishing humidity, wearing socks is just part of the social contract.’