Origin of ordeal
Examples from the Web for ordeal
Every visit to a hospital is an ordeal but for those who cannot pay for private care the experience is a horror show.
At no time during his ordeal was Turing able to publicly reveal the far greater secret that had framed his life since 1940.The Castration of Alan Turing, Britain’s Code-Breaking WWII Hero|Clive Irving|November 29, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The ordeal faced by Ms. Kolkiewicz, the Ebola victim, Mr. Williams, and Mr. Mutora is terrifying.
Many women find a car journey with regular morning sickness quite an ordeal.Our Hero! Morning Sickness Stricken Kate Middleton Rides In a 200 Year Old Carriage|Tom Sykes|October 21, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The handful who escaped that night have never told the full story of their ordeal — until now.
She saw Mrs. Leslie coming to the window with her friend, and nerved herself for the ordeal.Guy Kenmore's Wife and The Rose and the Lily|Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller
Whether or not he had a month or a year to live it must be lived without memories of his ordeal.The Day of the Beast|Zane Grey
What an ordeal this was getting to be, and how lucky was Nancy, comfortably seated before the fire!Tutors' Lane|Wilmarth Lewis
But let us rather believe that to tell you of his own unworthiness to your face was an ordeal beyond his strength.The Talk of the Town, Volume 2 (of 2)|James Payn
The ordeal to which the wife was to be subjected was twofold.The Expositor's Bible:The Book of Numbers|Robert A. Watson
Word Origin for ordeal
Old English ordel, ordal, "trial by physical test," literally "judgment, verdict," from Proto-Germanic noun *uzdailjam (cf. Old Saxon urdeli, Old Frisian urdel, Dutch oordeel, German urteil "judgment"), literally "that which is dealt out" (by the gods), from *uzdailijan "share out," related to Old English adælan "to deal out" (see deal (n.1)). Curiously absent in Middle English, and perhaps reborrowed 16c. from Medieval Latin or Middle French, which got it from Germanic.
The notion is of the kind of arduous physical test (such as walking blindfolded and barefoot between red-hot plowshares) that was believed to determine a person's guilt or innocence by immediate judgment of the deity, an ancient Teutonic mode of trial. English retains a more exact sense of the word; its cognates in German, etc., have been generalized.
Metaphoric extension to "anything which tests character or endurance" is attested from 1650s. The prefix or- survives in English only in this word, but was common in Old English and other Germanic languages (Gothic ur-, Old Norse or-, etc.) and originally was an adverb and preposition meaning "out."