English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

For example, Starting a new business requires a lot of work.

What would be an adjective in: Starting a new business is _.

share|improve this question

closed as primarily opinion-based by FumbleFingers, tchrist, Edwin Ashworth, choster, Ellie Kesselman Aug 4 '14 at 6:22

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

You could say time-consuming but I think something such as a major commitment fits better. The perfect adjective isn't always available. – Spehro Pefhany Aug 3 '14 at 17:00
Hectic might fit well. – Manish Aug 3 '14 at 17:14
Taxing, arduous, demanding, laborious, onerous,... This is Too Broad and POB – FumbleFingers Aug 3 '14 at 19:05
There's a class of words, normally 4 letters long and stolen from German, though the typical phraseology would have you believe that they're originally French, which are often useful :-). – Ben Aug 3 '14 at 19:40
as a German native speaker, I often look for a "is" phrase like yours (because we use such phrases a lot in German). But I have come to learn that looking for an "is"-equivalent in English might often not be the best fit. Does it have to be a is-phrase? Why not just "requires a lot of work" like in your first sentence? (BTW @Ben I was not referring to your comment. Just noticed that you mention "German" and so do I - it's a coincidence) – chiccodoro Aug 4 '14 at 6:16
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Consider challenging

Calling for full use of one's abilities or resources in a difficult but stimulating effort [American Heritage Dictionary]

Alternatives are burdensome, onerous, and arduous, but all of those have somewhat negative tones.

share|improve this answer


1.) Made with, or requiring, great labor, pains, or diligence.


"Characterized by or involving toil; laborious or fatiguing."


2.) tending to exhaust or drain, as resources or strength: a protracted, exhaustive siege of illness.


1.) characterized by vigorous exertion, as action, efforts, life, etc.: a strenuous afternoon of hunting.

2.) demanding or requiring vigorous exertion; laborious: To think deeply is a strenuous task.

3.) vigorous, energetic, or zealously active: a strenuous person; a strenuous intellect.


  • labor intensive (already mentioned below)
  • a chore
  • requires perseverance
  • requires persistence
  • requires dedication
  • requires exertion
share|improve this answer

If you want a single word for "a lot of work", consider "onerous" or "laborious", though I'm not sure "a lot of work" captures all the relevant obstacles to starting a business.

share|improve this answer

Try this one: labor-intensive.

share|improve this answer

In terms of relationships, the word for “requires a lot of work” is needy, meaning “Desiring constant affirmation, lacking in self confidence”. Wiktionary gives the following example sentence:

It's emotionally exhausting to be around her because she's so needy.

share|improve this answer

Gruelling comes to mind. It is defined as “extremely tiring and demanding”.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.