a long haul
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1. A difficult task that requires a lot of time and energy to complete. It's going to be a long haul before I have this car up and running. It needs a lot of work.
2. A long distance or journey. Jill knows that obtaining a PhD is going to be tough, but she said she's in it for the long haul. It's a long haul to Fresno, but if we take turns driving it shouldn't be so bad.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
a long haul
COMMON If you say a task or course of action will be a long haul, you mean that it will need a lot of time and effort. Note: A haul in the following expressions means a journey. Repairing the economy will be a long haul. The bank and its president face a long haul to rebuild their reputation. Note: If you say that you are in something for the long haul, you mean that you intend to continue doing it until it is finished. This project isn't a short-term thing. We're in it for the long haul.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
a long ˈhaul(informal) a long and difficult task or journey: It was a long haul doing the degree part-time, but it was worth it. ♢ They started on the long haul back to the camp.
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