American English

Definition of challenging adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1difficult in an interesting way that tests your ability challenging work/questions/problems a challenging and rewarding career as a teacher Thesaurusdifficulthard challenging demanding taxingThese words all describe something that is not easy and requires a lot of effort or skill to do.difficult not easy; needing effort or skill to do or understand:The test questions were extremely difficult. It is difficult for young people to find jobs around here.hard not easy; needing effort or skill to do or understand:Teaching high school students is hard work. It was one of the hardest things I ever did.difficult or hard?Hard is slightly less formal than difficult. It is used particularly in the structure hard to believe/say/find/take, etc., although difficult can also be used in any of these examples.challenging (approving) difficult in an interesting way that tests your abilitydemanding difficult to do or deal with and needing a lot of effort, skill, or patience:It is a technically demanding piece of music to play.taxing difficult to do and needing a lot of mental or physical effort:The work can be very physically and mentally taxing.Patterns difficult/hard/challenging/demanding/taxing for somebody difficult/hard to do something physically difficult/hard/challenging/demanding/taxing technically difficult/challenging/demanding mentally/intellectually challenging/demanding/taxing
  2. 2done in a way that invites people to disagree or argue with you, or shows that you disagree with them She gave him a challenging look. “Are you really sure?” she demanded.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: challenging

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