an uphill battle


      • difficult task or struggle
        Referring to a situation or task that is challenging, requires a lot of effort, and may not have a favorable outcome

      • discouragement
        Advise against engaging in a particular activity or task, cautioning that it will not result in any positive outcome or benefit

    Examples of an uphill battle

    • Sarah spent months preparing for the big presentation, but her boss's doubts and the overwhelming criticism from her colleagues made it feel like an uphill battle.

      In this example, "an uphill battle" is used to express the difficult and challenging nature of Sarah's presentation. It implies that there are obstacles and difficulties that she must overcome to succeed, much as one climbs an uphill path that requires hard work and perseverance.

    • The small business owner faced an uphill battle when she decided to expand her operations, as she lacked the financial resources and experienced staff necessary for growth.

      Here, "an uphill battle" refers to the significant obstacles and challenges that the business owner faced in expanding her operations, implying that it required significant effort and resources to overcome those obstacles.

    • The research team encountered an uphill battle in finding a cure for the rare disease, as they struggled to identify the root cause and lacked the necessary resources to conduct extensive testing.

      In this example, "an uphill battle" refers to the challenges and difficulties that the research team faced in finding a cure for the rare disease, implying that it required significant effort to overcome those obstacles and make progress in their research.

    • The runner struggled through the final leg of the marathon, his legs aching and his breath coming in ragged gasps. He knew that he was facing an uphill battle to finish the race, but he pushed himself forward, determined to cross the finish line.

      Here, "an uphill battle" refers to the physical and mental challenges that the runner faced in completing the marathon, implying that it required immense determination and effort to overcome those challenges and succeed.

    • The school's proposal to increase teacher salaries has been an uphill battle with the local government, who have been reluctant to provide the necessary funds.

      This idiom refers to a difficult or challenging situation that requires a lot of effort and determination to overcome. It comes from the image of climbing a steep hill, which can be physically and mentally exhausting. In this example, the school's effort to increase teacher salaries has faced a lot of resistance from the local government, who appear unwilling to provide the necessary resources. This has made the battle to achieve this proposed change a very challenging one.

    • The sales team has been struggling to meet their targets this quarter, as they are facing an uphill battle in the highly competitive market.

      The phrase "an uphill battle" is used to describe a difficult or nearly impossible task. It implies that the struggle is comparable to climbing a steep hill, which is challenging and requires a significant amount of effort. In this example, the sales team is facing tough competition, making it challenging for them to meet their sales targets, and this situation is an uphill battle for them.

    • After weeks of hard work, the student still faces an uphill battle to get admitted to her dream college.

      In this example, the student has been putting a lot of effort into securing a place in her preferred college, but the competition is intense, and her task is an uphill battle. The use of this idiom emphasizes the difficulty of the situation, indicating that the student's success is far from guaranteed.

    • The newly appointed manager faced an uphill battle in winning over the skeptical team members, but her perseverance paid off, and she eventually earned their respect.

      In this example, the manager had a challenging task in gaining the trust and confidence of her team members. The situation was an uphill battle as they were already hesitant to accept her leadership. However, her determination and resilience helped her overcome the obstacle, and she succeeded in winning over the team. The use of this idiom highlights the extent of the challenge and the need for persistence and hard work to succeed in such situations.


    The idiom "an uphill battle" is used to describe a difficult task or struggle, often discouraging someone from engaging in a particular activity or task. It conveys the idea that the situation is challenging, requires a lot of effort, and may not have a favorable outcome. It can serve as a warning or a word of caution to others, advising them to be prepared for a tough and challenging endeavor.

    The phrase is often used in a figurative sense to describe various challenges in life, such as overcoming obstacles, achieving success in difficult circumstances, or facing resistance in achieving a goal. It can also be used to express the idea of an arduous journey or a difficult process that requires perseverance and determination.

    Overall, "an uphill battle" is a widely recognized idiom that conveys the idea of a difficult and challenging struggle, often discouraging others from pursuing a particular course of action.

    Origin of "an uphill battle"

    The origin of the idiom "an uphill battle" can be traced back to the literal meaning of climbing a steep incline. The image of struggling to climb a hill or mountain has long been associated with the idea of facing difficulty and challenge. Over time, the phrase transitioned into a figurative expression, representing the challenges and struggles people face in their lives.

    The idiom is often used in a metaphorical sense to describe various difficult situations, reflecting the uphill climb that individuals must endure to achieve their goals. It has become a common and widely understood phrase in the English language, conveying the idea of facing adversity and overcoming obstacles. The metaphorical use of "an uphill battle" continues to resonate with people as they navigate through life's challenges and strive for success. Examples of its usage can be found in literature, speeches, and everyday conversations, highlighting the enduring relevance and impact of this idiom.