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Emotional WeightPlay
Describes intense difficulties, carrying negative emotions such as fear or distress. SlideSurviving the hurricane was an ordeal for the affected families.
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Extended DurationPlay
Refers to something that isn't just difficult, but also lasts for a considerable period. SlideHer recovery from surgery was a year-long ordeal.
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Personal ChallengePlay
Often used to talk about a personal challenge that tests one's strength or endurance. SlideFacing the competitive exam was the biggest ordeal of his life.