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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Toilsome \Toil"some\ (toil"s[u^]m), a. Attended with toil, or fatigue and pain; laborious; wearisome; as, toilsome work.

What can be toilsome in these pleasant walks?
--Milton. [1913 Webster] -- Toil"some*ly, adv. -- Toil"some*ness, n.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

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


a. Requiring continuous physical effort; laborious.


adj. characterized by toilsome effort to the point of exhaustion; especially physical effort; "worked their arduous way up the mining valley"; "a grueling campaign"; "hard labor"; "heavy work"; "heavy going"; "spent many laborious hours on the project"; "set a punishing pace" [syn: arduous, backbreaking, grueling, gruelling, hard, heavy, laborious, punishing]

Usage examples of "toilsome".

His work was only toilsome on the first night, for the more he worked the easier it became, and when he had finished he found he had taken out thirty-six bricks.

The Slovaks dug graves, a toilsome task in the puszta, where the millennia of grass growing, dying, reseeding, growing again, had made the ground an almost impenetrable mesh of roots.

Terrific storms raised tremendous seas through which the five little vessels buffeted their toilsome way.

While I was immersed in this toilsome sea of thought, an event happened which brought home to me the sad state of mind I was in.

CONTENTS The New Fable of the Private Agitator and What He Cooked Up The New Fable of the Speedy Sprite The New Fable of the Intermittent Fusser The New Fable of the Search for Climate The New Fable of the Father Who Jumped In The New Fable of the Uplifter and His Dandy Little Opus The New Fable of the Wandering Boy and the Wayward Parent The New Fable of What Transpires After the Wind-up The Dream That Came Out with Much to Boot The New Fable of the Toilsome Ascent and the Shining Table-Land The New Fable of the Aerial Performer, the Buzzing Blondine, and the Daughter of Mr.

I wish only to suggest, given what I must suffer, that it is undoubtedly more toilsome and more difficult, more subject to hunger and thirst, more destitute, straitened, and impoverished, for there can be no doubt that knights errant in the past endured many misfortunes in the course of their lives.

The book which describes the rusty emotions and toilsome Lves of the Thrums weavers will always remain a book that has given me something, and the fact that mine is merely the popular view and that what I feel in it can be equally felt by the majority of fellow-creatures, this fact, such is my hardened and abandoned state, only makes me like the book more.

This description by Cassiodorus exactly suits Roccella, but does not suit Squillace, which is at the top of a conical hill, and is reached only by a very toilsome ascent.

The heads, we may assume, are likenesses, produced by some toilsome artisan with a pair of callipers and a feeble concept of the human spirit.

His work was only toilsome on the first night, for the more he worked the easier it became, and when he had finished he found he had taken out thirty-six bricks.

Thus, with difficulties augmenting at every step, they urged their toilsome way among the hills, half famished and faint at heart, when they came to where a fair valley spread out before them, of great extent and several leagues in width, with a beautiful stream meandering through it.

They were to seclude themselves in the extensive apartments occupied by Aylmer as a laboratory, and where, during his toilsome youth, he had made discoveries in the elemental powers of Nature, that had roused the admiration of all the learned societies in Europe.

      Then I turned my face homewards, for now Anahuac had no king to rescue, but it chanced that before I went I caught a Tlascalan who could speak Spanish, and who had deserted from the army of Cortes because of the hardships that he suffered in their toilsome march.

Her mind, however, was too rigidly focused on this side of Traherne's life - his self-training by an iron inner discipline and his toilsome ascent from the experience of Nothingness to a state of Beatific Vision.

They set forward on their bleak and toilsome way, keeping to the east northeast, towards the lofty summit of a mountain, which it was necessary for them to cross.