a tough row to hoe
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Related to a tough row to hoe: raise hackles, if push comes to shove, gunning for, up and about, without a hitch
tough row to hoe
A particularly difficult or problematic task, situation, or set of circumstances to contend with or confront. Immigration reform was one of the new president's primary campaign promises, but it will likely prove a tough row to hoe given the deep divisions in congress. I know finishing this thesis will be a tough row to hoe, but I'm actually looking forward to the challenge.
a tough row to hoeInformal
A difficult situation to endure.