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[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.
Also, especially British, gruelling.
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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for gruelling
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was a gruelling four years' struggle, but with success at the end of it.

    Herbert Hoover Vernon Kellogg
  • Natalie insisted on camping early; for it had been a gruelling afternoon on Garth.

    Two on the Trail

    Hulbert Footner
  • The place was a rest billet, which we had just reached after a gruelling on the Somme.

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

    Famous Indian Chiefs Charles H. L. Johnston
  • The final bout of fireworks was a gruelling for both champions.

    Ulysses James Joyce
  • We talked it over and we found that neither of us was equal to so gruelling a task.

    The Eddy Clarence L. Cullen
  • Besides, the utter mystery that enveloped the affair was gruelling to the mind.

  • Four horses had succumbed to a gruelling day of fierce exertion.

    Sir John French Cecil Chisholm
  • 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
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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