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From Old French onereus, from Latin onerosus (burdensome), from onus (load).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈɒnəɹəs/, /ˈəʊnəɹəs/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈɑnəɹəs/, /ˈoʊnəɹəs/


onerous (comparative more onerous, superlative most onerous)

  1. imposing or constituting a physical, mental, or figurative load which can be borne only with effort.
    • 1820, Washington Irving, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow":
      That all this might not be too onerous on the purses of his rustic patrons, who are apt to consider the costs of schooling a grievous burden, and schoolmasters as mere drones, he had various ways of rendering himself both useful and agreeable.
    • 1848, Charlotte Brontë, Shirley, ch. 13:
      Again, and more intensely than ever, she desired a fixed occupation,—no matter how onerous, how irksome.
    • 1910, Jack London, "The Golden Poppy" in Revolution and Other Essays:
      [I]t has become an onerous duty, a wearisome and distasteful task.


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