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  1. characterized by vigorous exertion, as action, efforts, life, etc.: a strenuous afternoon of hunting.
  2. demanding or requiring vigorous exertion; laborious: To think deeply is a strenuous task.
  3. vigorous, energetic, or zealously active: a strenuous person; a strenuous intellect.

Origin of strenuous

1590–1600; < Latin strēnuus; see -ous
Related formsstren·u·ous·ly, adverbstren·u·ous·ness, stren·u·os·i·ty [stren-yoo-os-i-tee] /ˌstrɛn yuˈɒs ɪ ti/, nounqua·si-stren·u·ous, adjectivequa·si-stren·u·ous·ly, adverbsu·per·stren·u·ous, adjectivesu·per·stren·u·ous·ly, adverbsu·per·stren·u·ous·ness, nounun·stren·u·ous, adjectiveun·stren·u·ous·ly, adverbun·stren·u·ous·ness, noun

Synonyms for strenuous

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Synonym study

3. See active.

Antonyms for strenuous

2. easy. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for strenuous

Contemporary Examples of strenuous

Historical Examples of strenuous

British Dictionary definitions for strenuous


  1. requiring or involving the use of great energy or effort
  2. characterized by great activity, effort, or endeavour
Derived Formsstrenuosity (ˌstrɛnjʊˈɒsɪtɪ) or strenuousness, nounstrenuously, adverb

Word Origin for strenuous

C16: from Latin strēnuus brisk, vigorous
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 strenuous

"characterized by great effort," 1590s, from Latin strenuus "active, vigorous, keen." Probably cognate with Greek strenes, strenos "keen, strong," strenos "arrogance, eager desire," Old English stierne "hard, severe, keen" (see stern (adj.)). Mocked by Ben Jonson as a pedantic neologism in "Poetaster" (1601). Sense of "requiring much energy" is first recorded 1670s. Related: Strenuously; strenuousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper