...paving the [full of obstacles] way to fluency.

Is there a one-word adjective I can use to replace that outrageous 3-word one?

I swear I've heard of it somewhere, but I've been searching for it for almost an hour now, and have come no closer to success than when I began.


Given that the phrase the desired word is going to be inserted into is a metaphor about paving a road, perhaps "rocky" will serve. This sense of the word is defined by oxforddictionaries.com as

Difficult and full of problems

  • As it happens, there are a couple of written references to pave the rocky road. But I don't think the metaphoric usage works very well, because paving slabs are really just rocks anyway (of the right size and shape, in the right positions). In principle I suppose you could pave a rocky road by simply cutting and moving around those rocks that are creating the uneven surface, but I think OP is just trying to cram too much into one clause. Nov 14 '16 at 19:00

If you're wedded to "paving", @DougWarrn's suggestion of "rocky way" would work. If not, you might want to consider:

"navigating the obstacles to fluency"


"clearing the hurdles to fluency"


"overcoming the pitfalls to fluency"

There are many possible word choices.

From M-W:

hurdle: something that makes an achievement difficult

pitfall: a danger or problem that is hidden or not obvious at first


It sounds like you might be looking for the word 'hindered'. According to dictionary.com when it can mean (when used without an object):

to be an obstacle or impediment.

To use it in your sentence I would more likely use the opposite:

...paving the unhindered way to fluency.

which implies that the path paved will be free of obstacles and impediments.


Perhaps, thorny works here. A thorny way is a way full of difficulties (synonym of obstacles).

...paving the thorny way to fluency.


thorny adjective
2 : full of difficulties or controversial points : ticklish

stay out of the thorny brambles unless you want a ton of scratches

Usage examples: Google search for "thorny way"

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