A quick google search on the word uphill gave me the following results:

Uphill [adverb] : towards the top of hill or slope [adjective] : slopping upwards [noun] : An upward slop

So, I'm trying to use it in a sentence like below :

"It was a great time there, and the learning curve has always been uphill"

Meaning to say "It was a great time there, and every time was a positive learning opportunity"

Made a further google search and found following articles:

The Learning Curve ― The first steps are uphill http://pldata.net/the-learning-curve-%E2%80%95-the-first-steps-are-uphill/

Travel: Europe - It's an uphill learning curve - The Independent http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/travel-europe-its-an-uphill-learning-curve-1177314.html

And in the above articles, uphill seems to be used to mean difficult, like climbing a hill.

Is it a correct usage of 'uphill' with 'learning curve' to mean it as a positive learning experience considering that uphill is upwards?

3 Answers 3


I would advise you to use an adjective steep instead of uphill as it is more idiomatic when used with the learning curve.

having or being a slope or gradient approaching the perpendicular

[Collins Online Dictionary]

This linked Ngram Viewer and this one show steep learning curve and learning curve was steep are more idiomatic.


When used figuratively, uphill typically implies difficulties:

Marked by difficulty or strong resistance; laborious


difficult to do or to achieve


To convey the idea of continuously learning something new, try something like:

...and I learned something new every day

Note: learning curve typically collocates with the adjective "steep". A steep learning curve commonly means you need to learn a lot (or something difficult) in a short period of time. However, a diametrically opposite interpretation of "steep learning curve" is possible: https://english.stackexchange.com/a/6226/141939


If I extend your usage a little bit:

It was a great time there, and the learning curve has been always going uphill

This would mean that no matter how much you tried, there was always a new material to learn, you could not see the top of the hill. So the sentence is suggesting exhaustion which is contrasting great time.

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