What do you call a task that was really hard, and demanded a lot of thinking, work...

Thomas1

Senior Member
polszczyzna warszawska
How do you call a task that was really hard, and demanded a lot of thinking, work, etc. from you?
I spent a lot of time over one task I had to solve, it was a really difficult one and made me look for many pieces of information, going through some books and many other things, do you have any term that could call such project? I wouldn't like to convey a negative connotation since I liked it, so I'd appreciate expressions with positive/neutral associations.

Could it be thought-demanding ball-breaker?

Any suggestions are welcome. :)


Thanks in advance,
Thomas
 
  • maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    You might try "It was an ordeal, if instructional and strangely enjoyable."

    "ball-breaker" is rather informal for most usages, and I would hesitate to use it to the person who set me a task.
     

    river

    Senior Member
    U.S. English
    challenging - calling for full use of one's abilities or resources in a difficult but stimulating effort.
     

    Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    Thank you all for the answers. :)

    maxiogee said:
    "ball-breaker" is rather informal for most usages, and I would hesitate to use it to the person who set me a task.
    Well, it is my friend. Whom you would not hesitate to use it to (I guess it should not be a woman)?

    What would you say about trail by fire?
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    Thomas1 said:
    Thank you all for the answers. :)

    maxiogee said:
    "ball-breaker" is rather informal for most usages, and I would hesitate to use it to the person who set me a task.

    Well, it is my friend. Whom you would not hesitate to use it to (I guess it should not be a woman)?

    I'd have no problem using it to a woman - about a task, or even about another person. I wouldn't call someone a ball-breaker to their face (not without a certain piece of cricket apparel!)

    There are two meanings to the phrase - one is the personal, someone who would break your balls - be it male or female! - and the other is the adjectival as we were discussing - a ball-breaker of a task.

    My message was that it would be wrong to use it to the person who set the task - you don't usually complain quite so forthrightly to a superior (unless you're thinking of leaving their employment!)


    Thomas1 said:
    What would you say about trail by fire?

    I'd say it is usually "ordeal by fire" and is very archaic. :D
     

    DaleC

    Senior Member
    Interesting: I interpret your question as a search for a noun, and almost everybody else has responded with adjectives.

    "Trial by fire" is certainly not it! A trial by fire is a harrowing experience: risky as to one's physical integrity, social standing, or the outcome of their career; risky emotionally as well. This is not how you describe writing a research article or thesis just because it's intellectually and operationally arduous. Trials by fire are extreme adversities like being caught in situation of extreme physical violence (war, physical assault) or emotional violence (e.g., social hostility); or having to witness or assist victims of extreme violence or social hostility. Romantic breakups also often qualify as trials by fire. What you seem to have in mind is rather something that is hard work but is also mentally fun and produces a glorious accomplishment, such as a an invention or a book.

    If there is such a phrase or word, I would start with "slog". "Slog" is only part of what you're after. It is a highly informal synonym for "drudge, drudgery", copiousness and tediousness of effort, but it not denoting intellectual pleasantness nor the product of the task. For example, a math problem (BE "maths problem") -- not a proof, just a plain problem -- that requires three pages of calculations is a "slog".
     

    nycphotography

    Senior Member
    American English
    hard work in general = taxing, and all the others above.

    Mentally taxing = headache, brain drain, draining, mind bending.

    Physically taxing = back breaking

    Ball breaking, ball busting, and ball breaker... are more often applied to a person or a concrete thing (as a general trait) than to an abstract like a task.
     
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