long row to hoe

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long row to hoe (plural long rows to hoe)

  1. (idiomatic) A difficult, arduous task or set of tasks; a lengthy, demanding project.
    • 1907, William Dean Howells, Between the Dark and the Daylight, ch. 5:
      “Don’t you suppose I know all that you’ve been through. . . ? I’ve followed you every step. . . .”
      “Well, you’ve had a long row to hoe.”
    • 1997 Nov. 29, "Dollar Nears 5-Year High Against the Yen," New York Times (retrieved 23 July 2014):
      Japan's six-year economic slump is far from over. “They have a long row to hoe for recovery,” said Richard Koss.
    • 2009 April 11, Hanif Kureishi, "Margaret Thatcher: Acceptable in the 80s?," The Guardian (UK) (retrieved 23 July 2014):
      Labour has begun to redress the balance, but there is still a long row to hoe.


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