I tend to look for words that aren't commonly used, for example, schadenfreude (pleasure derived by someone from another person's misfortune).

I'm looking for a word that means challenging yet rewarding.

  • 3
    From your description presumably you're looking for an adjective, could you please provide a sentence where said word would fit in.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 28, 2014 at 3:27
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    @Mari-LouA Agreed. Response to OP's request will vary depending on the context given the specific nature - i.e. two dissimilar meanings in one. I reckon that perhaps idioms are more appropriate. Sep 28, 2014 at 5:01
  • Perhaps you're right. An idiom might be what I'm looking for.
    – Veda
    Sep 28, 2014 at 8:32

3 Answers 3


You might consider worthwhile

being worth the time or effort spent Merriam Webster

For example if a particular hike is challenging but your are rewarded with a spectacular view from the top, you could describe the hike as being very worthwhile or well worth your while.


High-stakes, though that can also refer to risk/reward rather than effort/reward.

(Few things are rewarding without being challenging, so you might also consider just dropping the "challenging" qualifier.)



Moral victory comes to mind. Similar expressions would be: lesson learned, moral of the story is... (in spite of an unfavourable outcome or a lack of desired results).

Also, some adjectives and verbs to intrigue/to be used as starting points for your search:


  • Fruitful
  • Fulfilling
  • Satisfying
  • Worthwhile


  • Overcome
  • Endeavour

Sample sentence: After my endeavours to complete the project, I was swept with an exhilarating sense of accomplishment.

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