- used to express that an activity or action is not fun
- not an easy task to undertake or perform
- an event or an activity is unenjoyable or challenging
- I love having little kids around but cleaning up after them is no picnic.
- Rowing the boat across the choppy lake was no picnic.
- It’s not the surgery that concerns me, but the lengthy recovery time will be no picnic.
- Trying to make my flight on time, dodging all the people as I raced through the airport was no picnic.
- Getting caught without insurance is no picnic in any state.
- Working as a delivery guy during the winters is no picnic in Canada.
- Spending decades in the U.S. military was no picnic for him.
The expression no picnic, alluding to a picnic as an enjoyable occasion, became frequently used in the late nineteenth century. Its first recorded use was in 1888. The English author Rudyard Kipling used the term several times in his short story, wee willie winkie:
“I got my ‘ead chipped like a egg; I’ve got pneumonia too, ‘an my guts is all out o’ order. ‘Taint no bloomin’ picnic in those parts I can tell you.”
The word picnic itself derives from the French language, first used after the french revolution in 1789. Pique-nique refers to a group of people dining together, bringing their own wine. The term soon grew to mean an uncomplicated affair. By association, no picnic came to mean the opposite of this.