Ordeal meaning

ôr-dēl
A difficult or painful experience, especially one that severely tests character or endurance.
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A method of trial in which the accused was subjected to pain or danger as a means of invoking God's intercession, with the outcome regarded as revealing a divine determination of guilt or innocence.
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An ancient method of trial in which the accused was exposed to physical dangers, from which he or she was supposed to be divinely protected if innocent.
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Any difficult, painful, or trying experience; severe trial.
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The definition of an ordeal is a very severe test, trial or difficult or painful experience.

An example of ordeal is an extensive and long surgical procedure.

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A trial in which the accused was subjected to a dangerous test (such as ducking in water), divine authority deciding the guilt of the accused.
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Origin of ordeal

  • Alteration (influenced by deal) of Middle English ordal trial by ordeal from Old English ordāl dail- in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From Middle English *ordel, ordal, from Old English ordÄ“l, ordāl (“ordeal, judgement"), from Proto-Germanic *uzdailaz (“judgement", literally “an out-dealing"), equivalent to or- +"Ž deal. Cognate with West Frisian oardiel (“judgement"), Dutch oordeel (“judgement, discretion"), German Urteil (“judgement, verdict").

    From Wiktionary