• synonyms


[toil-suh m]
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  1. characterized by or involving toil; laborious or fatiguing.
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Origin of toilsome

First recorded in 1575–85; toil1 + -some1
Related formstoil·some·ly, adverbtoil·some·ness, noun


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wearisome, arduous, strenuous, tiring.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for toilsome

Historical Examples

  • The drive is a slow and toilsome ascent of three hours and a half.

    In the Heart of Vosges

    Matilda Betham-Edwards

  • It was like a toilsome passage through the workings of an iron mine.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine

  • This was at eight or nine in the morning, after many hours' toilsome march.

    Ireland as It Is

    Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)

  • It was a toilsome and dreary march, unrelieved by aught to lessen the fatigue.

    Arthur O'Leary

    Charles James Lever

  • The third day of my toilsome journey was drawing to a close.

British Dictionary definitions for toilsome



  1. laborious
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Derived Formstoilsomely or toilfully, adverbtoilsomeness or toilfulness, noun
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 toilsome


1580s, from toil + -some (1). An earlier word was toilous (early 15c.). The opposite, toilless (c.1600) is much less common.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper