Uphill battle

Uphill battle is an idiom that is several hundred years old. We will examine the meaning of the idiom uphill battle, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

Uphill battle is an idiom that means a difficult undertaking, a struggle, a tremendous task, a challenge with many obstacles. One is often said to face an uphill battle or to be fighting an uphill battle as a way of saying that one is tackling difficulties. The expression uphill battle is most probably derived from the physical task of fighting a battle up a hill, which is a difficult battle to win. The phrase uphill battle to mean a difficult undertaking came into use in the early 1800s, and may have come from the War of 1812, the Napoleonic Wars, or any number of altercations taking place at this time.

Examples

The member states of the European Union face an uphill battle to reach agreement on a common budget and recovery fund this weekend in the first physical meeting of national leaders since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. (The Irish Times)

Whoever wins the U.S. Senate Democratic primary runoff — a race between Air Force veteran MJ Hegar and and Dallas state Sen. Royce West — will face an uphill battle against U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who will have a huge financial advantage in a traditionally red state. (The Texas Tribune)

But if your manager expects you to be be available well into the evening, you’re fighting an uphill battle when it comes to trying to put good sleep hygiene practices into place – such as a regular bedtime and suitable numbers of hours asleep. (Happiful Magazine)