English

Definition of ordeal noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

 

ordeal

 noun
noun
BrE BrE//ɔːˈdiːl//
 
, BrE//ˈɔːdiːl//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ɔːrˈdiːl//
 
 
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[usually singular] ordeal (of something/of doing something) a difficult or unpleasant experience They are to be spared the ordeal of giving evidence in court. The hostages spoke openly about the terrible ordeal they had been through. The interview was less of an ordeal than she'd expected. Word Origin Old English ordāl, ordēl, of Germanic origin; related to German urteilen ‘give judgement’, from a base meaning ‘share out’. The word is not found in Middle English (except once in Chaucer's Troilus); modern use of the current sense began in the mid 17th cent.Extra examples She was subjected to a terrible six-day ordeal. They were spared the ordeal of giving evidence in court. This is the fourth time the prime minister has faced ordeal by egg. their 20-hour ordeal at the hands of a gunman She’s extremely distressed by the whole ordeal. Starting at a new school can be quite an ordeal for a young child. The hostages were subjected to a terrible six-day ordeal. The interview was less of an ordeal than she’d expected.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: ordeal