Definition of challenging adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈtʃælɪndʒɪŋ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈtʃælɪndʒɪŋ//
    Describing work
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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 Synonymsdifficulthard 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 exam questions were quite difficult. It is difficult for young people to find jobs around here.hard not easy; needing effort or skill to do or understand:I always found languages quite hard at school. 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 ability.demanding 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 (often used in negative statements) difficult to do and needing a lot of mental or physical effort:This shouldn’t be too taxing for you.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 See related entries: Describing work
  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.
  3. Extra examples He found the course academically challenging. The tasks were not challenging enough for me and I got bored. We have changed the course to make it more challenging. I have had a challenging and rewarding career as a teacher. It will be a challenging target to meet.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: challenging

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