I am looking for a word which can used in the following blank space:

I understand the ____ nature of the request; hence a negative answer will not change anything between us.

The word needs to describe a request which is difficult, a bit imposing, and the favour is too big.

Thanks very much


There are plenty of adjectives you can use here, some of which you've already used.

imposing, difficult, demanding.

In a respectful context where I really wanted them to do the work, I would probably use difficult, as I would I'd want to highlight the difficult work required (and appeal to their desire for challenge!), without insinuating that the party is unable to cope with it, or suggest that they'd be inconvenienced.

If you were wanting to discourage the person from picking up the work, then use one of the more discouraging adjectives - demanding, inconvenient.

  • Thanks. I am hesitant to use "Imposing" since the relationship is not hierarchical / authoritative; inconvenient is bit milder. I want to say that the request is surprising, too much to ask, and, of course, demanding. – user1188038 Jun 2 '14 at 22:32
  • 2
    You misunderstand imposing, then. Your little brother can impose on you. So can your subordinate. When you visit your neighbour, asking to borrow 1 million rupees, and then obliging him with how you had been close childhood friends, and how you helped out in his business - that is imposing on your neighbour. No hierarchy necessary. – Blessed Geek Jun 2 '14 at 23:12

Three more terms to consider:
overwhelming, “Overpowering, staggering, or irresistibly strong; Very great or intense; Extreme”
onerous, “imposing or constituting a physical, mental, or figurative load which can be borne only with effort.”
burdensome, “Of or like a burden; arduous or demanding”


There is a word that basically means exactly what you are looking for, and in addition refers specifically to requests or (especially) tasks—but it is perhaps a bit too strong for your needs, so you may have to prepend it with a softener like ‘somewhat’:

I understand the somewhat Herculean nature of the request; hence, a negative answer will not change anything between us.

(If you wish to be a bit more polite, you could also change “a negative answer”, which can perhaps sound a bit blunt, to something like “if you feel you cannot accept/undertake it” or something along those lines.)

  • I quite like this. It's quite a romantic way of putting it, which would be great for encouraging the person. – dwjohnston Jun 2 '14 at 22:45
  • Thanks. Just to clarify, the request is not difficult to keep by "him", but for me to ask for it is bit too much. You know, like those situation when the relationship is not quite there to ask for a big favour. Can Herculean be used in this case as well? For example, when One asks for a loan from a person one doesnot have such closeness to ask for the loan. – user1188038 Jun 2 '14 at 23:11
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    While I like a herculean task (requiring extraordinary strength or exertion), I hardly think the OP's demand rivals the task of rerouting a river or two to clean out the Augean stables. I think this is a bit of overkill. – anongoodnurse Jun 2 '14 at 23:16
  • @user1188038 No, in that case, it’s not a very appropriate use. It references the 12 labours of Hercules in Greek mythology, so you would have to be asking your acquaintance to do something quite big in order for Herculean to be appropriate. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jun 2 '14 at 23:20
  • @medica - The expression would be hyperbolic, but still express appreciation of the large nature of the task. eg. 'I know this is a rather Herculean task, but can you please go through these 100 boxes of files and pull out the ones relating to the XYZ case?'. – dwjohnston Jun 2 '14 at 23:26

An outrageous request is one that is over-the-top,

A request with a daunting nature makes it seem uneasy, uncomfortable, or even scary.

Some request could have an eccentric nature, while others could have an unbearable one.

I understand the harsh nature of this request

The arduous nature

The bothersome nature

  • I agree with harsh! It's perfect for your situation, friendly but emphasizing your concern at the request you need to ask. – Pro ingles Jul 7 '14 at 5:00

How about replacing "____ nature" with enormity?

noun: great size

  • goood suggestion. But I think it misses my feelings. Please see the comment above. I think I was not quite clear. – user1188038 Jun 2 '14 at 23:12

I suggest strict if you want to stress that the request is difficult and a bit excessive.

Strict: exacting in enforcement, observance, or requirement:

  • I don't think strict would parse as burdensome here - to me it would imply the requirements are very exacting, regardless of anything else. – Beejamin Jun 29 '17 at 2:43

In the case of a request for a loan from someone one doesn't have much closeness to, I'd suggest incongruous, demanding, and embarrassing.

incongruous: unsuitable or out of place; odd

demanding: requiring much time, effort, or attention

embarrassing: causing confusion and shame to; making uncomfortably self-conscious


You cannot say that the request is excessive if you are making it (as in your example). You would want to be positive. I would use challenging.

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