What Is an Uphill Battle? – Meaning and Origin

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

An uphill battle means facing or undertaking a task or challenge fraught with difficulties and hard to overcome. Picture yourself trying to climb a steep hill. Every step is laborious, the terrain is challenging, and you might feel like giving up. That’s the feeling this idiom captures!

Idiomatic expressions are common phrases that don’t have a literal meaning but are essential because they help us communicate more easily. But to truly do an idiom justice, you need to wield it precisely. So let’s jump right into the origins, meaning, and examples of uphill battle to sharpen your idiom game!

Uphill Battle Meaning

What Is an Uphill Battle – Meaning and Origin

An uphill battle represents a strenuous effort against impossible obstacles. You can use it to refer to any challenging endeavor where the odds feel stacked against you, and success isn’t guaranteed.

It’s all about pushing forward despite resistance, like trying to make your way up a steep slope. I can’t help but think of parenting as a whole. It’s a constant, uphill daily struggle, no matter what you do, but you can’t give up.

Being an indie author presents constant uphill battles. We research and write, hire editors and formatters, manage marketing strategies, handle accounting, and engage in networking. It’s a continuous cycle and an ongoing uphill battle.

Origin and Etymology of the Idiom Uphill Battle

Uphill Battle Ngram
Uphill battle usage trend.

There’s no cool origin story here, just examples from everyday life. Whether it’s an uphill battle, an uphill struggle, or an uphill fight, the message is the same: gravity makes things more complicated, as does life in general.

The saying popped up sometime during the 1600s but picked up speed in the late 1800s. It’s stuck around as a figurative way to describe hardships or strenuous tasks with no end in sight.

Uphill Battle Synonyms

  • Tough slog
  • Hard fight
  • Steep climb
  • Herculean task
  • Going against the tide

Uphill Battle Examples in a Sentence

What Is an Uphill Battle – Meaning and Origin 1

  • Starting a business with no capital will be an uphill battle.
  • Despite her massive talent, she always felt that being a woman in the publishing industry was an uphill battle.
  • Overcoming public opinion after the huge scandal would be an uphill battle for a politician’s wife.
  • For indie authors, getting widespread recognition can be an uphill battle.
  • As an IT professional, trying to implement modern tech in older institutions sometimes feels like an uphill battle.
  • Convincing the town’s council to fund the park renovation was an uphill battle, but we managed to pull it off!
  • Environmental activists are always facing uphill battles against industrial lobbyists.
  • Breaking old habits while trying to form new ones can be an uphill battle for many people.
  • The team knew that playing against the reigning champions would be an uphill battle, but they brought home the gold.

The Struggle Is Real

Uphill battle is the perfect idiom to describe the hardships we face in life and the constant grind of striving and meeting goals. Sometimes, the battle is worth it—like learning about idioms! Keep climbing, and check out more guides on our site!