I am looking for a single word that implies that something was tedious to do, but was also intellectually challenging. For example, filling out legal forms may be quite tedious, but perhaps it can be intellectually challenging to discern how the content of a form interacts with the law.

I can't seem to find a word that encompasses such a meaning. I considered "toilsome", but I don't think this implies the type of intellectual work that I am looking to describe. "Arduous" falls into the same boat...

A sample sentence would be, "I found the task to be quite Word_Here."

  • 2
    Taxing; physically or mentally demanding. How about it? – NVZ Jun 30 '16 at 8:56
  • I feel like this is a duplicate of many old questions. – NVZ Jun 30 '16 at 9:19
  • Because of the "intellectual" angle, I keep thinking of rigorous. It doesn't quite convey "tedious," but instead suggests something that is both rewarding and difficult or exacting. – Brian Jun 30 '16 at 19:44
  • 1
    Knotty, intricate. – Phil Sweet Jul 1 '16 at 3:04
  • @Jgolden1 "Demanding"; "strenuous"; "brutal." None of these is great. I await with you a proper answer – SAH Nov 1 '16 at 20:44


adj. causing mental or emotional stress
"corporate finance work can be stressful."


I settled on "herculean."

I like the definition

"not easy; requiring great physical or mental effort to accomplish or comprehend or endure"

because it implies that something was both difficult to do/endure, and that it required "great mental effort" to comprehend.

  • the definition here says "or" not "and" – k1eran Jun 30 '16 at 9:18

It doesn't provide the precise connotations of requiring endurance and intellect, but an apt word may be onerous:

: difficult and unpleasant to do or deal with

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