Definition of onerous in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈōnərəs/
Pronunciation: /ˈänərəs/


1(Of a task, duty, or responsibility) involving an amount of effort and difficulty that is oppressively burdensome: he found his duties increasingly onerous
More example sentences
  • No wonder we cannot find staff for such onerous tasks, the stress day in day out must be disastrous on their health.
  • A leading Scottish businesswoman has the onerous task of finding a buyer for the beleaguered Millennium Dome in London.
  • Eithne also has the onerous task of visiting groups, hospitals and the sick or anyone else that contacts her wishing to see the relic.
burdensome, arduous, strenuous, difficult, hard, severe, heavy, back-breaking, oppressive, weighty, uphill, challenging, formidable, laborious, Herculean, exhausting, tiring, taxing, demanding, punishing, grueling, exacting, wearing, wearisome, fatiguing
archaic toilsome
1.1 Law Involving heavy obligations: an onerous lease
More example sentences
  • It seems likely that the net cash position will move into net debt and/or the company will be saddled with onerous lease obligations.
  • Occupiers are going to become more aware of onerous lease terms.
  • Unprofitable contracts can be ended, and property burdened with onerous obligations disowned.



Pronunciation: /ˈōnərəslē/ Pronunciation: /ˈänərəslē/
Example sentences
  • In this time, that chaos is being unleashed by neoconservative actions within capitalism that are bearing down increasingly onerously on the lives of the young, women, working people and the poor generally.
  • In the mainland, conversely, ICBC's poor management, low pay, onerously high staffing levels and bulky branch network hamstrings many necessary reforms.
  • The result is that the more our government tries to impose impractical and onerously expensive legislation on to UK farming the more sub-standard produce will enter our country.


Pronunciation: /ˈōnərəsnəs/ Pronunciation: /ˈänərəsnəs/
Example sentences
  • Ossie Kilkenny, U2's accountant, comes in for a similar beating, having tried to get the author to sign a management contract of Dickensian onerousness.
  • In much of the literature on Neilson the reader is led to believe that the harshness of the Mallee and the sheer onerousness of his working life made it difficult for him to write.
  • The regulatory onerousness of this legislation is diametrically opposed to the Government's rhetoric of wanting to lift our economic growth by focusing on and progressing biotechnology.


Late Middle English: from Old French onereus, from Latin onerosus, from onus, oner- 'burden'.

  • exonerate from Late Middle English:

    Exonerate ‘absolve from blame’ is from Latin exonerare ‘free from a burden’, from ex- ‘from’ and onus, oner- ‘a burden’, source of onerous (Late Middle English) ‘burdensome’.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: on·er·ous

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