Is there a word for describing a period of time that feels much longer than it actually is?

To fill in the blanks below for example

Only few days have passed but it feels like months. How ___ .

The time we spent on the island has been ___ . It is as if we'd lived there for years.

Reading the source code is quite a ___ task.

  • Do you have a preferred register? That is, would a slang term work, or are you specifically looking for something more formal? Also, do you specifically want an adjective? – 1006a Feb 23 '18 at 21:39
  • You could use slow motion in your context (although it doesn't exactly fit in your examples). Related excerpt from an article: "With lots of new stimuli our brains take longer to process the information so that the period of time feels longer. This would help to explain the “slow motion perception” often reported in the moments before an accident." - www.independent.co.uk – ermanen Feb 23 '18 at 22:58
  • slow-going... – Drew Feb 23 '18 at 23:07
  • A single adjective to fit all your examples is tedious. – JonLarby Feb 24 '18 at 0:23
  • @ermanen that is a very interesting article. thanks! – 吖奇说-何魏奇Archy Will He Feb 26 '18 at 19:19

When time feels like it is passing slower than usual, we usually say that it is dragging:

2 (of time) pass slowly and tediously.

’the day dragged—eventually it was time for bed’

I don’t think it’s quite the single word you were looking for, but in conjunction with “time” it can fill the blank in all your examples.

It does have fairly negative connotations; we often used stretched in more positive situations. E.g.:

“The long summer days stretched out, so by the autumn it felt like we hadn’t been to school in years.”

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  • 1
    This is perhaps as close as one can get. It addresses the subjective requirement. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 24 '18 at 0:19
  • There is also the more casual term draggy, to fulfill the OP's request for an adjective, though I don't know if it perfectly fits all the example blanks. – 1006a Feb 26 '18 at 21:14

The typical metaphor would be an eternity. The other way, possibly cliché, is [for] what seemed like an eternity.

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Glacial is frequently used in just this way.

"suggestive of the very slow movement of glaciers ·progress on the bill has been glacial"(MW)

Interestingly, there is a concept in fictional narrative that may also be useful. If a long segment of the text is devoted to a short period of the story, it is called deceleration. So a decelerated event has a short duration in time but extends for an inordinate amount of text compared to the normal event time/text length for the narrative. Narrative Fiction, Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan, Routledge.

In more general use, "The event decelerated as the week progressed."

The time we spent on the island has decelerated. It is as if we'd lived there for years.

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  • 1
    This actually is lengthy. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 23 '18 at 20:43
  • @edwin Seems, feels, as if . . . – Zan700 Feb 23 '18 at 21:13
  • 'Glacial' used metaphorically means 'extremely slow / taking ages' not 'feeling much longer than it actually is'. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 23 '18 at 21:19
  • The history professor's two-hour class passed glacially. The history professor's two-hour class seemed to pass glacially. The new glacier formed lickety-split, uncharacteristically non-glacially. – Zan700 Feb 23 '18 at 21:32
  • The 'seems' needs to be built into the word. Read the question again. 'Glacial' is wrong. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 23 '18 at 21:45

Simple as it is, you could just use "slow" or any of its synonyms.
"How slow."
"has been slow"
"a slow task"

I'd argue that "time is slow" implies that the period of time seems longer than it actually is, since we're all aware that time isn't literally being slow (unless this is sci-fi, or something).

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