I recently wrote something where I indicated a technical task was not for the faint at heart. What I meant to say was that the task would require a lot of technical knowledge which most of the audience would not likely have. They would need to spend time and effort to learn technical details they probably wouldn't be interested in. So a task only undertaken by someone with the appropriate technical knowledge or someone highly motivated to learn how to do it.

Upon re-reading, I realized that some might take this as implying that if they couldn't or wouldn't do such a thing, they were in some way inadequate.

Without starting an endless debate on whether or not the expression already removes that implication, could I have put it better? If I had been speaking, I wouldn't be concerned, but writing lacks the nuance of delivery.

  • 2
    “Faint of heart” refers to lack of courage, not lack of competence. merriam-webster.com/dictionary/faint%20of%20heart
    – user 66974
    Sep 28, 2018 at 13:47
  • Yes, I realize that. I was trying to indicate it would be a daunting task for someone without a high level of technical knowledge in the area, but not impossible for someone to put in the time to work through. I'll edit the question to clarify that.
    – wordragon
    Sep 28, 2018 at 13:51

3 Answers 3


I would stay with "faint-hearted" - it does not mean they can't do it, but that inspires them to try and tackle the difficult task, which is probably what you want.

  • Hi Tommy, welcome to English Language & Usage. Your post does answer the question to some extent, but it is more a personal opinion than the authoritative, detailed answer this site prefers. For further guidance, see How to Answer. :-) Oct 28, 2018 at 21:23
  • And yet, it does feel better than the other suggestions...
    – wordragon
    Nov 16, 2018 at 20:53

There are a few ways you could reword this to eliminate any "weakness" connotations.

Repairing a jet engine by hand is not for the uninitiated.

Traversing a double black diamond ski slope requires rigorous training.

You could also leverage idioms and exaggeration if you're writing more casually.

Answering questions on english.stackexchange.com is rocket science.


Consider saying that it should be left to the experts. Note that this can sound condescending if it doesn't really require rigorous training.

Here are some examples in print (emphasis, mine):

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.