from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Troublesome or oppressive; burdensome. See Synonyms at burdensome.
  • adj. Law Entailing obligations that exceed advantages.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. imposing or constituting a physical, mental, or figurative load which can be borne only with effort.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Burdensome; oppressive.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Burdensome; oppressive.
  • In Scots law, imposing a burden in return for an advantage; being for a consideration: as, an onerous contract: opposed to gratuitous.
  • Synonyms 1. Heavy, weighty, toilsome.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. not easily borne; wearing


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, from Old French onereus, from Latin onerōsus, from onus, oner-, burden.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin onerosus ("burdensome"), from onus ("load").


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  • Icelandic citizens have balked at what they describe as the onerous terms of the current agreement, which would see every household have to contribute around €45,000 of the sum, worth around 40 percent of Iceland's GDP. - Headline News

  • The company has also taken a £50m hit on what it called onerous sports rights contracts.

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  • However, the number of reports required and monthly quotas and taxes remain onerous in a country where most people have no car or telephone.

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  • And yet when she or rather Peterson hired accountants to estimate their total tax level - a burden she characterizes as onerous - she placed them in eight different cities with "top-notch public school districts."

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  • Through providing a billing and provisioning platform, resellers can offer customers a fully scalable range of IT services such as hosted virtual desktops, exchange and communications, VoIP, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), virtual server infrastructure and cloud storage on a 'pay monthly' basis without long term onerous contracts, he said.

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  • Rep. Darrell Issa asks businesses to name onerous government regulations - News

  • "It's not easy to pass all the barriers," he said, referring to the onerous criteria a candidate must meet to contest the presidency.

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  • New House oversight chairman asks businesses to name onerous government regulations - News

  • Others simply point to the arcane paperwork involved in getting permits at City Hall or what many describe as onerous taxes on businesses.

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