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Definition a very difficult or painful experience

Much more rarely, ordeal can refer to a primitive method of determining a person's guilt or innocence by subjecting the accused person to dangerous or painful tests believed to be under divine control. Escape or survival was usually taken as a sign of innocence.
  • She survived a 14-day ordeal stranded at sea.
ordeal = a very difficult or painful experience
  • They put the women out in huts when their time came, whatever that was; they had no sense of family—I knew that'd distress Aunty—they subjected children to terrible ordeals when they were thirteen; they were crawling with yaws and earworms, they chewed up and spat out the bark of a tree into a communal pot and then got drunk on it.
    Harper Lee  --  To Kill a Mockingbird
  • ordeals = very difficult experiences
  • Hrothgar is asleep now, resting up for tomorrow's ordeal of waiting.
    John Gardner  --  Grendel
  • ordeal = a very difficult or painful experience
  • He couldn't understand why Aunt Queen would let him go through this ordeal, especially on his birthday.
    Sharon M. Draper  --  Forged by Fire
  • ordeal = a very difficult or painful experience
  • Have you recuperated from that court ordeal yet?
    Sharon M. Draper  --  Tears of a Tiger
  • ordeal = a very difficult or painful experience
  • We must never forget, however, the tens of thousands of other children who didn't survive their ordeals, and the millions who are still suffering.
    Dave Pelzer  --  A Child Called It
  • Surviving the ordeal had given Ben a newfound confidence that he carried with him to school.
    Nicholas Sparks  --  The Lucky One
  • By degrees then these parties, these tests, for which one had to prepare so carefully, became ordeals.
    Virginia Woolf  --  A Sketch of the Past
  • I walked up and shook his hand, and told him that I hoped the ordeal had not been too painful.
    Pat Conroy  --  The Water is Wide
  • But for men with scant clothing and broken shoes, or no shoes, it was again an extreme ordeal.
    David G. McCullough  --  1776
  • Charlie was begging him for a nonfiction account of his ordeal.
    Stephen King  --  Misery
  • I was on hand when the migrant Isaaas Guerra was caught and described his desert ordeal.
    Sonia Nazario  --  Enrique's Journey
  • Then she wouldn't have to go through this ordeal.
    Truman Capote  --  In Cold Blood
  • He's been through a terrible ordeal.
    Ken Kesey  --  One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
  • This has been a terrible ordeal for her.
    J.K. Rowling  --  Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  • She felt at once that this interview was a terrible ordeal to him.
    Willa Cather  --  O Pioneers!
  • Ronnie was still trying to digest the fact that this nightmarish ordeal was coming to an end.
    Nicholas Sparks  --  The Last Song
  • He needs to know who has put him through the ordeal he has suffered tonight, and why," "Moody," Harry said.
    J.K. Rowling  --  Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • 'And the demons are close behind," said the worried Humbug, still shaky from his ordeal.
    Norton Juster  --  The Phantom Tollbooth
  • Decide which interview to give first—you might as well get something out of the ordeal, like a book deal.
    Gillian Flynn  --  Gone Girl

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