[groo-uh-ling, groo-ling]


exhausting; very tiring; arduously severe: the grueling Boston marathon.


any trying or exhausting procedure or experience.

Also especially British, gru·el·ling.

Origin of grueling

1850–55; slang gruel punishment (noun), punish (v.) + -ing2, -ing1
Related formsgru·el·ing·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for gruelling

Contemporary Examples of gruelling

Historical Examples of gruelling

  • 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.


    James Joyce

British Dictionary definitions for gruelling


US grueling


severe or tiringa gruelling interview


informal a severe experience, esp punishment

Word Origin for gruelling

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

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